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More police posts planned in eastern Sudan’s Kassala

May 21 - 2020 KASSALA / KHARTOUM
A street scene during the recent clashes in Kassala (Social Media)
A street scene during the recent clashes in Kassala (Social Media)

On Wednesday, the authorities of eastern Sudan’s Kassala released 28 people who were detained last week following tribal clashes in which more than ten people were killed. A new police station and three police posts will be established soon in the town districts where the fighting occurred.

Sources told Radio Dabanga that the release of the detainees is part of the provisions stipulated in the reconciliation deal signed by leaders of Nuba, Beni Amer, and El Habab tribes on Sunday.

On May 8, people from Nuba tribes in South Kordofan who settled in Kassala and eastern Sudanese Beni Amer and El Habab tribesmen clashed in Kassala. The fighting lasted three days, left eight dead, and more than 80 injured.

Following reconciliation efforts by tribal leaders and the deployment of a government security force, a cautious calm returned.

Governor of Kassala Maj Gen Mahmoud Babikir stressed his government's keenness to implement the provisions of the reconciliation agreement as fast as possible, including the establishment of a police station and three police posts in the conflict-torn town districts of Kadugli, Makram, El Nour, and the West Bank area in Kassala.

Internet blackout

A group of academics and engineers have denounced the suspension of mobile internet services in Kassala between May 14-16. The blackout of three mobile telephone networks reportedly occurred to calm the tense situation in the town after the clashes earlier that week. The Sudatel network continued its internet services.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the University of Khartoum Lecturers Initiative, the Engineers Union Restoration Initiative, and the Information and Communications Technology Syndicate Initiative, and the Sudanese Consultative Group for Communications and Informatics (SICTA) expressed their concern about the three-day blackout.

They consider the suspension of the mobile telephone networks provided by Zain, MTN and El Sudani in Kassala, Khashm El Girba and New Halfa, from 2 pm on May 14 until 9 pm on May 16, “a violation of the Constitutional Charter” – which was signed in August last year by the then ruling Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change as the basis for the current transitional government.

The group calls the temporary blackout “unjustified” and “a continuation of the methods of the defunct regime” used to suppress free access to information.

Curtailing internet connections has been used by the regime led by Omar Al Bashir, ousted in April last year, as a strategy to hamper communications between activists and gag the opposition.

Last year, Sudan endured an almost total internet blackout for 38 days from June 10. The shut-down was ordered by the Transitional Military Council citing reasons of ‘national security’ following the massacre during the break-up of the sit-in at the General Command of the army in Khartoum on June 3.

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