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Eight Darfuri students detained in Omdurman

October 15 - 2015 OMDURMAN
Darfuri students during a sit-in at the Holy Koran University in Omdurman in protest against tuition fees, 13 October 2015 (RD)
Darfuri students during a sit-in at the Holy Koran University in Omdurman in protest against tuition fees, 13 October 2015 (RD)

Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) detained eight Darfuri students of the Holy Koran University in Omdurman on Tuesday.

Student supporters of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and security agents continue to bar students from entering the campus, abusing them with racist taunts.

Nasreldin Mukhtar, head of the Darfur Students Association, told Radio Dabanga today that five students who were seriously injured in an attack by militant NCP students and security agents on Tuesday are still being treated at the Omdurman Teaching Hospital.

He further reported that the university administration issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the Darfuri students responsible for the clashes will be expelled.

Mukhtar strongly denied that the Darfuri students started with violent actions on Tuesday. “We demanded our right to the exemption of tuition fees in a civilized manner, first through meetings with the university administration, and when this failed, we organised a sit-in on Sunday, which we planned to continue until our demands are met.”

On Tuesday, however, NCP students with guns and machetes, backed by security and police agents, stormed the campus and violently dissolved the sit-in, where a protest speech was being held.

Exempted

It was agreed in the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur that Darfuri students are exempted from tuition and exam fees. The stipulation in the Doha peace document was later enforced in an agreement between the Darfur Regional Authority and the federal Ministry of Higher Education.

Nevertheless, several Sudanese universities have refused or evicted Darfuri students because they could not afford to pay the fees. The students have also been increasingly subjected to discrimination, assaults, and detention since last year.

Early 2014, Darfuri students at the universities of Babanusa and West Kordofan were expelled, and beaten by security forces and NCP students. In March that year, a Darfuri student of the University of Khartoum was killed, and dozens were wounded in a raid by government forces on the campus.

70 Darfuri women students were violently evicted by security forces from a dormitory in Khartoum on 5 October. Dozens of them were detained. The National Endowment Fund for Students had ordered them to vacate the boarding house, yet the Darfuri students had refused to leave, as they had nowhere else to go.

On 22 December, government forces and militant NCP students stormed the Bahri University in Khartoum North, where the Darfur Students Association had organised a meeting to discuss the eviction of at least 48 Darfuri students for not paying tuition fees, and the University administration’s ban on wearing African dress and haircuts. 77 Darfuri students were detained.

Hate campaign’

Students told Radio Dabanga late December that security forces in Khartoum also began to search buses for young people of Darfuri origin. “Any young person suspected to come from the western part of the country, is picked out, and detained.” They described the detention campaign “based on colour and identity” as the “fiercest one since 2008, when rebel forces of the Justice and Equality Movement raided Omdurman”.

The ‘hate campaign’ against Darfuri students intensified after an NCP student died during clashes at Sharg El Nil College in Khartoum on 29 April this year. In the following weeks, hundreds of Darfuris studying at universities in the capital were assaulted, beaten, and detained by security agents.

 


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