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Hundreds of houses demolished in Khartoum

August 25 - 2015 KHARTOUM
The demolished basic school in El Kheirat, Soba East district in Khartoum after 23 August 2015 (correspondent)
The demolished basic school in El Kheirat, Soba East district in Khartoum after 23 August 2015 (correspondent)

Hundreds of houses and a basic school in El Kheirat area in Khartoum were demolished by the authorities on Sunday morning, under the pretext of their being illegal residences. 21 people were arrested and a number of them were beaten in detention, until their release on Monday.

One of the affected residents confirmed to Radio Dabanga that 800 houses were “completely destroyed” after police and security services arrived in El Kheirat, Soba East district, in about 18 trucks and 12 Hilux vehicles. The force evacuated pupils from the basic school and the residents in the houses and immediately proceeded tear down the buildings.

“The children’s parents were absent because they were at work. Women living in the houses were alone and could not protect their homes.”

Plan to move

Another resident said that the decision to remove the houses came from a committee of residents in the area, which had agreed with state officials to re-plan or move the residents. The officials had committed themselves to resolve the issue, according to the resident. “But we were surprised on Sunday morning when a large number of police and security arrived to evacuate and immediately destroy the houses in the area. They had no regard for the children at the school.”

One of the demolished buildings in El Kheirat after Sunday 23 August (correspondent)

He claimed that the officer in charge on Sunday insulted the residents through his microphone. A group of residents has filed a complaint against the officer: they demand compensation for the affected people and that the officer is prosecuted.

On Sunday, 21 people were reportedly arrested for annoying a public official on duty and breaching security and jeopardising public safety. A number of residents were beaten and six of them suffered serious injuries.

“Most of the residents come from the Darfur region, after the war broke out,” the resident added.

Sale of Khartoum

On 12 and 13 June, hundreds of residents in Khartoum’s El Jireif East staged a peaceful demonstration to protest that the authorities have deprived owners of their plots. In an attempt to disperse the mass, the police fired live bullets and used tear gas. Three people were killed. Dozens were detained.

The Sudanese capital was shaken by violence from security forces against similar demonstrations earlier this year. In February, residents of Halfaya district, Khartoum North, took to the street on a Friday afternoon to protest against the sale of their lands by authorities to investors. The police beat them with batons and used tear gas.

Residents of El Hamadab in southern Khartoum have also been regularly demonstrating against the authorities’ sale of their plots since mid-2014.

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