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Kordofan students charged after deadly protest

April 22 - 2016 EL OBEID
The University of Kordofan in El Obeid, North Kordofan (file photo)
The University of Kordofan in El Obeid, North Kordofan (file photo)

Eleven detained students of the University of Kordofan are charged with violating public safety and rioting, following the events at the campus which led to the killing of one student on Tuesday. Amnesty International has urged an immediate investigation.​

The announcement came one day after the police director of North Kordofan, Gen. Adel Babikir, explained the arrests of many students from the university on Wednesday.

Lawyers said that they could not determine the exact number of detainees because the police has released the majority after registering their information, without filing legal action against them. They believe the number to be 271 detained students.

Lawyer Osman Saleh told Radio Dabanga from state capital El Obeid that eleven of the students who remain in detention face charges. “The whereabouts of a large number of students is still not known.

Students were arbitrarily detained, the lawyer who has taken up the defense of the students, stressed. He demanded a transparent investigation to find out who has assaulted the students within the university, and how the weapons were able to enter the premises. Perhaps the university administration or guards are to be held accountable, he said.

“Furthermore all detained students should be released and all charges against them dropped.”

Student Abu Bakr Hashim, who studied in the first level at the University of Kordofan Faculty of Engineering in El Obeid, was shot dead when students who support the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) fired at members of the United Students Opposition, who were on their way to deliver their student council election list to the university centre, last Tuesday.

It is the second consecutive year that the election at Kordofan University has ignited violence between students.

Amnesty International

The events must be urgently and impartially investigated, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, as repression of students in the country intensifies. 

“This violent attack is yet another shocking episode in of a string of human rights violations against university students across Sudan and underlines the government’s shameful determination to put out the last vestiges of dissent,” Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The human rights organisation reported that on Tuesday, students tried to submit the list of candidates to the election committee, but were prevented from doing so by national security agents and the police, which used live ammunition.

One student told Amnesty International that he saw 15 pick-up trucks arriving at the university full of security service agents armed with AK-47 rifles and pistols, who then started shooting indiscriminately at the crowd.

The human rights NGO has documented an intense and sustained crackdown by the police and security forces since 2012, its press release states, on the activities of students in universities across Sudan. Over this period scores of protestors have been killed, injured or detained, sometimes incommunicado.  

Since January this year, a number of cases of excessive use of force against students have been reported at El Geneina University in West Darfur, University of Bakhit El Rhida in White Nile, University of Kordofan, El Zaeem El Azhari in Khartoum North and the University of Khartoum. One student was killed at El Geneina University, and dozens of students were arrested, the NGO said.

Protests erupt

On Wednesday, protests and demonstrations broke out at the universities of Khartoum, as well as several other universities including Port Sudan in Red Sea state, the University of Kordofan in El Obeyed, and the University of Dongola in the Northern State. 

A video shows the head of the University of Kordofan confirming the reports of the killing of Hashim in clashes earlier this week. He said that the university requested the police to intervene on Tuesday. 42 students sustained injuries, of whom 11 are seriously injured. One student has been shot in the chest.


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