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More Sudanese doctors arrested by security service

January 15 - 2019 NYALA
Youth protest in Nyala against President Omar Al Bashir on 13 January (RD)
Youth protest in Nyala against President Omar Al Bashir on 13 January (RD)

A security force in Nyala arrested Dr Amar El Obeid on Monday on the day that President Omar Al Bashir visited the South Darfur capital to gain support for his beleaguered regime.

Dr El Obeid, a deputy surgical specialist, was arrested from within the operating theatre when the security service members stormed the office of the Sudanese Surgeons Association, of which he is a member. They immediately took him to an unknown destination.

The Central Sudanese Doctors Committee, the Union of Doctors of Sudan and the Committee of Consultants and Specialists said that the security apparatus issued a false statement in the name of the Committee. The “fake” content of the letter mentioned an earlier statement by the Committee on January 13 that dealt with the issue of detainees.

In their reply, the joint statement of the doctors’ unions said: “We, in the unified office of doctors, will not stand idly by in the attempt to isolate one of our branches from us and represent us and will proceed with the steps as determined.” They stressed the importance of the release of all detainees.

Trades unions

As the doctors were the first of trade union workers to go on strike against the economic hardship instigated by the regime of Al Bashir, a series of arrests ensued. Among the doctors still being held in incommunicado detention are doctor Ahmed El Sheikh, head of the Sudan Doctors Syndicate, his deputy doctor Najib Najmeldin, doctor Ihsan Fegeiri, a senior member of the syndicate’s executive committee (and a leading women's rights activist) and Amal Jabrallah, a senior psychiatrist. The list of detained doctors also includes Sayed El Khateeb, Howeida El Hasan, Adiba El Sayed.

On Friday afternoon, officers of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested El Fateh El Sayyid, Director of Tuga Specialist Hospital in Omdurman near his house in Abrof in Omdurman as a result of his announcement that the hospital will treat all wounded in the peaceful demonstrations. Sudan’s doctors have called for international support.

In response to the call of the Sudanese Professionals Association and allied opposition forces, thousands demonstrated in Khartoum North on Sunday as Sudan entered its fourth week of unrest. Five separate marches, described as “massive” and “well organised”, took place along the main streets in the northern part of the capital, according to eyewitnesses. The security services used live ammunition, tear gas, and batons to disperse demonstrators.

Rally in Nyala

In a reaction to President Omar Al Bashir’s speech in South Darfur yesterday, the local Sudanese Communist Party said that “clutching this straw does not save him from drowning”.

In the state capital of Nyala, Al Bashir told the gathered people that the demonstrations will not bring down his regime. “The government will not change through demonstrations and acts of vandalism, but by resorting to the ballot box.”

In 1989, Al Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed military coup, and his regime has ruled Sudan for 30 years.

Dr Nour El Sadig, leader of the Communist Party in South Darfur, ridiculed Al Bashir’s statements in Nyala. “He came to Nyala in search of a straw to clutch at to save him from drowning, and for the counter-rally after the media covered all the demonstrations that had taken place in Sudan, the latest being in Khartoum North.”

People were mobilised’

Sunday witnessed large and simultaneous demonstrations in Khartoum North, Wad Madani in El Gezira, Nyala in South Darfur, Port Sudan in Red Sea state, Amri in the Northern State, Sennar, El Faw and El Gedaref in eastern Sudan, and Ed Duweim in White Nile.

“After the failure of Al Bashir’s mobilisation of people [for a pro-Bashir rally on January 9] to the Green Square in Khartoum, he came to Nyala to say, ‘Here is Darfur where I was accused of killing its people who are now receiving me’.”

El Sadig claimed that authorities exercised all kinds of pressure on the South Darfur government and its personnel to attend the rally in Nyala on Monday. “Regular forces were brought in as well in addition to paying money to poor people from around Nyala to bring them to the scene of the celebration,” she claimed.

At the same time, people in Nyala boycotted the rally, as many of them closed their shops and their homes.

The pro-Bashir rally in Khartoum on January 9 ended with reports of violence against anti-regime demonstrators as the security service used live ammunition and flooded operating rooms in Omdurman Teaching Hospital with tear gas.

“The response by the government of Sudan to the continuing protests in various parts of the country such as the use of force by security forces against civilians - including the use of live ammunition - has led to further casualties over the last few days. Furthermore, teargas was reportedly used against medical personnel and patients in Omdurman hospital,” a statement by the European External Action Service (EEAS) said on Friday.

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