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Eastern Sudan FFC call for Kassala governor to assume role

August 24 - 2020 KASSALA / PORT SUDAN
Saleh Ammar, Governor of Kassala (Al Taghyeer)
Saleh Ammar, Governor of Kassala (Al Taghyeer)

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) in eastern Sudan have called on Khartoum to allow the newly appointed governor of Kassala, Saleh Ammar, to travel to the state to assume his role within the next two days in order avoid a “political and security vacuum”.

End July, protesters closed the Khartoum-Port Sudan highway near Sinkat in Red Sea state intermittently over three days. The High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains conditioned the opening of the road with an official response to the demands they submitted to the Sovereign Council and the Cabinet in a memorandum, including rejection of Ammar as governor.

The protesters also closed a number of government institutions and ministries on July 28, and blocked one of the two bridges over El Gash river in the town for vehicles.

Despite this, the Kassala Central Council of the FFC has reiterated that it welcomes Ammar.

Abdelazim Abdelkarim, a leading member of the council, said that the procedures for selecting Ammar were carried out in an “institutional and legal manner” in a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday.

An FFC delegation has travelled to Khartoum to find out why there has been a delay in the governor’s arrival, who has pledged to work with those opposing his role and supporters alike, for the sake of the state’s interest.

According to Adbelkarim, the delegation held meetings with the FFC Central Council, members of the Sovereign Council, Siddig Tawir and Mohamed El Faki, and Minister of Justice Nasreldin Abdelbari, who all affirmed their choice of Saleh Ammar.

Security concerns

The federal government must prioritise enhancing security in the region by sending the new governor as soon as possible to Kassala, according to the FFC leader, as “his absence in the state is leading to a political and security vacuum.”

His colleague, Hamour Hussein, warned that eastern Sudan may become “another Darfur” in the event that the current conditions are not resolved. “Choosing state governors is not one of the tasks of Native Administration leaders,” he said. “Intervention of members of the Native Administration in political affairs will disrupt the social fabric.”

Hussein further expressed his dissatisfaction with tribal polarisation and racist rhetoric in the state, attributing the emergence of “tribal discourse” to “the divide-and-rule policies of the former regime” and appealed to the residents of Kassala to distance themselves from tribalism.

The long-awaited appointment of civilian governors in Sudan elicited divergent responses in the country at the end of July. In a press conference in Omdurman on July 18, NUP leader and son of El Mahdi, Siddig El Sadig, accused the government of violating the agreed principles by appointing governors with a military background for fragile states such as Kassala. He warned that this may lead to armed conflicts.

“Radical solutions” are needed according to the head of the Security Committee of New Halfa locality, Adil Hasan, concerning repeated violent incidents, which took place at the beginning of August despite the agreement between the two parties not to engage with each other.

Arms round-up

Joint security forces in Port Sudan in Red Sea state began an arms search campaign in certain districts on Sunday.

In a statement that day, the Red Sea state police said that the campaign will use a police dog unit and specialised team from Khartoum to detect weapons and ammunition: “We will search any place in the city if we receive information about the possession of weapons, ammunition, or any other object in violation of the law.”

The Governor of the Red Sea state, Abdallah Shangarai, announced the reduction of the curfew, starting from Sunday, to 20:00-06:00. The lockdown of the market and fuel stations will be reduced to 18:00-06:00.

The city has witnessed a cautious calm since the arrival of hundreds of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in the Red Sea state capital on August 13.

Listeners told Radio Dabanga from Port Sudan that many people were arrested the following day, among them activists who started a peaceful coexistence campaign.

The Network for Social Justice (NCJ) active in eastern Sudan reported on Tuesday that “a regular force” subjected four detainees to “severe torture by pouring caustic substances on parts of their bodies”. Radio Dabanga has tried to contact the Red Sea state police chief for comments, but received no response.


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