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Eastern Sudanese demand end of State of Emergency in Kassala

July 9 - 2018 KASSALA
Kassala town (file photo).
Kassala town (file photo).

Eastern Sudanese activists are collecting signatures for the abolition of the State of Emergency in Kassala.

Hundreds of eastern Sudanese politicians, journalists, writers, artists, and activists have already signed a petition demanding the end of the State of Emergency in the state.

The national parliament will soon discuss the extension of the security measure in Kassala and North Kordofan, imposed by the Sudanese government in early January this year.

Khartoum said that the security measure was needed for an extension of the nationwide disarmament campaign which started in August 2017 in Darfur. Thousands of paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were deployed in Kassala.

Politicians, community leaders, and activists in eastern Sudan however doubted the reasons from the start. “The Sudanese Constitution conditions a declaration of a State of Emergency with disasters and epidemics or foreign intervention,” a lawyer told Radio Dabanga at the time.

Mohamed Iheimir, head of the Unified National Unionist Party in Kassala commented that “Implementing such a measure aims to cut the way for any possible street protests from against the passing of the 2018 budget, the repeated sharp rise of basic consumer prices, and the escalating fuel and wheat shortages.”

The text of the memorandum cited a large number of arrests and summons by agents of the National Intelligence ans Security Service (NISS) against a number of people, many of them traders, in the state. They were arbitrarily detained and held in prisons of Kassala, Port Sudan, and Khartoum, until they were released again without having been charged.

Kassala police as well detained people and held them without charges for periods ranging from three to four months without being brought to trial or given the opportunity to defend themselves, the memorandum says. Most of them are merchants or political activists.

The memorandum further referred to the suffering of residents of Kassala because of the State of Emergency. The property of many people in Kassala, especially those from low-income rural areas, has been seized by the authorities. In addition, many restrictions have been imposed on the transport of basic commodities from Khartoum and between towns and rural areas in the state, which caused the already soaring prices to rise even more.

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