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NISS in Blue Nile detains alleged protest mobilisers

January 15 - 2019 ED DAMAZIN
Photo of one of the earlier protests against the regime, in El Obeid in December 2018 (RD)
Photo of one of the earlier protests against the regime, in El Obeid in December 2018 (RD)

The Sudanese security apparatus is detaining two young men accused of mobilising other young people to demonstrate against the regime in Ed Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile state.

On 13 January 2019, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested Zakaria Mohamed Ahmed from Ed Damazin market. The NISS has not given any reason yet for his arrest.

The Human Rights Centre (Hudo), a Sudanese NGO dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, reported about the case in a statement, saying that Ahmed’s whereabouts are not known “and he is suspected to be undergoing torture”.

The arrest took place against the backdrop of demonstrations seeking political reforms that started on December 13 in Ed Damazin. A number of school students was detained at the time. The protests spread to many other towns in Sudan with the same motive the following days.

Zakaria Mohammed Ahmed is 26 years old and has graduated from Blue Nile University. He is originally from Darfur and known as an active member of the student organisation named United People Front (UPF) which is at times affiliated with armed movements.

NISS officers detained him on Sunday when he was shopping in the market in the Blue Nile capital and took him to unknown place which raised fear that he could be subjected to torture.

“Hudo is very concerned about the situation of civilians during this current condition of demonstrations. Hudo calls upon the Sudan government to stop targeting and arresting students or youth [and] Blue Nile State government and NISS to disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Zakaria and ensure that he is not mistreated or tortured.”

Daily reporting to NISS’

On January 2, Muaaz Eissa Ahmed was arrested by the NISS in Ed Damazin and accused of mobilising people to demonstrate. He was released the next day on the condition that he reports to the security apparatus’ office in the town on a daily basis.

At 9am each day, the 24-year-old El Nilein University student reports to the office. Although not officially being detained, according to Hudo, “he reports and stays there up to sunset or evening hours, then is told to come back the next day”.

Eissa Ahmed is a president of the Geisan student union. NISS suspects him as key person that may mobilise people to demonstrate, Hudo said in a statement. Again it called on Khartoum to stop targeting youth and students during this time of demonstrations.

The amount of demonstrators detained to this day is unclear but several official sources stated that over a thousand people have been in detention or remain in detention by riot police and the security apparatus. According to human rights watchdog Amnesty International more than 40 people had been killed, but that number has reportedly increased after the recent mass protest in Omdurman and elsewhere in Sudan.

In the Friday sermons, a number of imams in various mosques in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum launched fierce attacks on the government and the security forces, condemning the killing of demonstrators and statements of former Vice President Ali Osman Taha and leading member of the ruling National Congress Party, El Fateh Izzeldin, saying demonstrators should be killed.

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