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MPs to summon Prime Minister over Darfur students’ case

July 30 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Protesting students from the University of Bakht El Rida in White Nile state (file photo)
Protesting students from the University of Bakht El Rida in White Nile state (file photo)

Sudanese MPs are collecting signatures to summon Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh concerning the situation of the more than 1,000 Darfuri students who resigned en masse from the University of Bakht El Rida ten days ago.

Members of all political parties joined the campaign, including those from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) that has a majority in the parliament.

The MPs want to know the reasons behind the harsh treatment of the students after their resignation last week, and why President Omar Al Bashir has cut the way for the return of the dismissed students by demanding the university administration “to firmly deal with them”.

Election

The problems began on 9 May, when the police of El Duweim violently broke up clashes between student members of Sudan’s ruling party and opposition students over a disputed guild election at the Bakht el Rida University. Two policemen were killed. Seventy Darfuri students were detained that day.

The Darfuris at the university protested the detention of ten of their fellow students accused of killing the policemen and the expulsion of 14 others. When this did not lead to a solution, more than 1,000 students collectively submitted their resignation because of “the security services and the university administration’s racial targeting of Darfuri students”.

The students then decided to deliver their demands to the federal Ministry of Higher Education in Khartoum. After the authorities in El Duweim told bus owners not to admit them, more than 1,500 Darfuri students then began to walk to the Sudanese capital.

At Sheikh El Yagout village, south of Khartoum, agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), stopped the marching students. They told the villagers not to provide food and beverages to the stranded protesters and the students "to return to where they came from".

Those who returned to the capital of North Darfur by buses, were not allowed to enter El Fasher as the authorities feared they had intentions “to destabilise the city through an external agenda”.

During an NCP Leadership Office meeting on Thursday, chaired by President Omar Al Bashir, a report was presented about the Darfuri students at the Bakht El Rida University. NCP Deputy Chairman Ibrahim Mahmoud told the press in Khartoum the following day that the incidents “which were interwoven and executed by students loyal to Darfur movements, led to martyrdom of two policemen, and the injury of more than 20 others, besides the complete destruction of the Faculty of Education”.

Fellow students in Sennar, Kassala, and Khartoum have expressed their solidarity with the Darfuri students and called for re-admission of all Darfuri students to the Bakht El Rida University.

In January, Amnesty International issued a report in which it documented attacks on Darfuri university students going back three years.  


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