Kassala clan clashes continue
Violence continued at the Grand Market of Kassala in Sudan for the second day in a row on Friday. A ministerial delegation sent to assess the situation has returned to Khartoum to report to Prime Minister Hamdok.
Witnesses said that fires burned in a number of shops for hours. Volunteers intervened and extinguished most of the fires and saved property.
On Tuesday 25 August, tribal fighting broke out when members of the Hadendawa clan attacked a group of Beni Amer, who organised a march in the town in support of their fellow tribesman Saleh Ammar, the newly appointed governor of Kassala. One person was killed and at least 18 others were injured.
The next day, thousands of people ignored the curfew and took to the streets, demanding the speedy arrival of Governor Saleh Ammar to the state. Clashes broke out again and another man was killed.
According to several witnesses, the security forces reacted late to the fighting, despite the State of Emergency imposed in the town.
Ammar, who belongs to the Beni Amer tribe and has a military background, was appointed by Khartoum in late July. He is still in the Sudanese capital. The Cabinet postponed his departure after fierce protests erupted against his appointment. Beja leaders, including those of the Hadendawa clan, have repeatedly demanded that he be replaced.
The Nazir of the Shukriya tribe in El Gedaref and Kassala, Brig Gen (Retd) Ahmed Mohamed Abusin, called on the parties to the conflict in Kassala to reject violence, hate speech and appeal to the voice of reason.
“The warring tribes are known for their wisdom and tolerance,” he said. “However, the struggle of these ancient tribes indicates that eastern Sudan has suffered much misfortune.”
He appealed to all communities in Kassala to show solidarity in order to end the strife and direct all efforts towards development and reconstruction.
A delectation including the Minister of Interior Affairs Lt Gen El Tereifi Idris, Ministers of Information and Culture, Youth and Sports, in addition to a number of leaders of the Armed Forces, Rapid Support Forces, Security, Police and the representative of the Public Prosecution, arrived in Kassala on Thursday.
Feisal Mohamed Saleh, Minister of Information and Culture and member of the ministerial delegation, acknowledged the slow reaction of the security forces to the Kassala violence.
He said in a press conference in Kassala that the government had received many complaints from different areas of Sudan with the same regard.
He attributed this to the lack of trust between citizens and the armed forces due to the practices that had occurred during the past years, stressing that the time has come for the police and army to play their role within the framework of the law by using appropriate force when events occur.
Minister Saleh said that the crisis in Kassala is not only a security one, but rather a deep political and social crisis that needs huge efforts to be solved.
The current administrative and political vacuum in the state must be quickly addressed, he told reporters in Kassala on Friday.
The ministerial delegation from Khartoum travelled in Kassala to investigate the situation on the ground and was tasked with presenting a comprehensive and transparent report to be submitted to Prime Minister Hamdok.
On Friday, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported that the ministerial delegation had returned to Khartoum went directly, to the residence of the Prime Minister to submit a full and comprehensive briefing to the Prime Minister on the situation in the state.
Interior Minister Lt Gen El Tereifi Idris extended the curfew in Kassala until the crisis has been solved.
Idris said he ordered the formation of a security team under the leadership of the Kassala Police Chief to monitor security and take the necessary measures and precautions.
People from Kassala living in Khartoum announced they would organise a vigil in front of the Council of Ministers on Saturday, demanding Governor Saleh Ammar to assume his duties in Kassala, the state police director to be dismissed, "as well as to expedite the launch of the Information Crimes Prosecution and the application of the law against the outlaws".
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