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Eleventh commemoration of dam protesters in Khartoum

July 20 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Graffiti saying “No Dal, No Kajbar” (medievalsaiproject.wordpress.com)
Graffiti saying “No Dal, No Kajbar” (medievalsaiproject.wordpress.com)

Eleven years ago, security forces killed four people and injured at least nineteen others as they protested against the planned construction of a large dam in the Nile. The commemoration of the Martyrs of Kajbar took place on Wednesday night.

The high committee for the commemoration of the Martyrs of Kajbar commemorated the eleventh year after what is widely known as the massacre of Kajbar and called on the authorities to punish the perpetrators.

On Wednesday night, the representative of the committee held a speech at the headquarters of the Sudanese Communist Party in Khartoum, saying that the Nubians’ basic rights have been subjected to abuse. “The northern lands of Sudan are being looted.”

On behalf of the Nubians the committee said that the people still refuse the construction of dams in the Nile and hold on to their natural rights to remain in their lands of origin.

Planned constructions

The government agreed to construct the Kajbar, Dal, and Shireik dams at cataracts of the Nile after passing a framework agreement with Saudi Arabia in 2015, which committed to inject millions for the construction.

The planned Kajbar Dam on the Nile’s third cataract will create a reservoir of 110 square km, and generate 360 megawatts of electricity. The project is expected to displace more than 10,000 people and submerge an estimated 500 archaeological sites. The Dal Dam on the second cataract would have a capacity of 340-450 megawatts, and would displace 5,000-10,000 people.

The Merowe Dam, at the fourth cataract, was completed in 2009. The project doubled Sudan’s electricity generation, but displaced more than 50,000 people from the Nile Valley to arid desert locations. Protests were violently suppressed.

“No scientific feasability study has been conducted into possible displacement of communities.” - Anti-dams committee

Present at the commemoration on Wednesday, members of the committee against El Shireik dam reiterated their categorical rejection of the construction plans in Northern state. “No scientific feasibility study has been conducted into the possible displacement and disintegration of the communities of Northern state,” the representative said.

He claimed that Khartoum seeks to displace the people there by establishing mine factories which use toxic cyanide close to residential areas, “so as to make them unfit for housing”. The representative also considers that the repeated palm tree fires in the area may be part of a plot to evacuate the people from the area.

The representatives of the Communist Party, the Sudanese Congress Party, the Unionist Party, the Umma Party, and the Initiative for No Oppression against Women also participated in the commemoration. They affirmed their full support to the demands of the people of Kajbar, stressing that the issue of dams is a national one.

Protesters against these dams, however, have been detained by the Sudanese security service on multiple occassions.


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