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Eastern Sudan: Dismissal of Kassala Gov triggers fighting, six killed

October 15 - 2020 SUAKIN / PORT SUDAN / KASSALA
Protestors against the dismissal of the governor of Kassala block the Port Sudan-Khartoum highway, Suakin, October 14 (Social media)
Protestors against the dismissal of the governor of Kassala block the Port Sudan-Khartoum highway, Suakin, October 14 (Social media)

On Wednesday, tribal clashes erupted in Suakin and Port Sudan in Red Sea state between opponents and supporters of the Governor of Kassala, Saleh Ammar, who was dismissed on Tuesday. The fighting left six people dead and 20 others injured. In Kassala town, the police used tear gas to disperse protestors.

The appointment of Ammar as governor of Kassala on July 22 immediately triggered protests in the state. Hadendawa nazir Sayed Tirik fiercely condemned the appointment of the new governor. He warned that they would increase the protests “until Khartoum reverses its decision”.

A month later, clashes broke out in Kassala, when members of the Hadendawa clan attacked a group of Beni Amer who organised a march in the town in support of their fellow tribesman Saleh Ammar. The fighting continued for days, and left at least six people dead.

Ammar stayed in Khartoum, though he was urged several times to assume his duties in Kassala. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok removed him from his position.

In Red Sea state, protesters blocked the gate to the port of Suakin and the Port Sudan-Khartoum highway in protest against the dismissal of Ammar. A number of main roads in Port Sudan were barricaded as well. The Red Sea state Security Committee imposed a 12:00-04:00 curfew in Port Sudan and Suakin, starting today.

The Red Sea Doctors Committee said in a statement yesterday that six people died, and 20 other were injured. The wounds were caused by sticks and sharp objects.

Protests that erupted in Kassala on Tuesday continued the next day. The demonstrators chanted slogans against PM Hamdok. Security forces abundantly used tear gas to disperse the crowds. One protestor was hit on his head.

‘Strong blow’

The dismissed governor of Kassala described the method and timing of his dismissal as “a strong blow to the values ​​and principles of the great December revolution”.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ammar said he considers the decision to remove him “as a surrender to the blackmailing of a group of remnants of the National Congress Party [the party that was established by ousted President Omar Al Bashir).

He accused “corrupt stakeholders” of being behind “the group that fuelled discord and triggered tribal clashes by using a racist discourse and acts of chaos.”

The former governor said that he was prepared to resign, provided that the price would be peace and reconciliation.

Ammar considers the dismissal “a breach of the dialogue with the Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers about a reconciliation and social peace initiative, which could have constituted a safe road map that would start with civil reconciliation and end with the holding of a comprehensive conference for eastern Sudan”.

He said he will continue his “peaceful and political battle”, and urged the police and security forces as well as the protesters to show restraint in order to contain the situation.


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