A man was killed and 17 were injured in tribal clashes that broke out in eastern Sudan’s Kassala yesterday afternoon.
The Kassala police said in a statement that the fighting was triggered when a group of people publicly urged the newly appointed governor of the state, Saleh Ammar, to come to Kassala and assume his duties. This led to violent protests of another ethnic group.
The fighting in which traditional weapons and sticks were used resulted in injuries to 17 people, all of whom were taken to the hospital.
The police statement said that another violent incident happened at the same time in the western part of Kassala town, which left one man dead and another injured.
The clashes caused tension and panic, which prompted the state’s Security Committee to order a comprehensive curfew throughout the town for a period of three days, starting on Tuesday afternoon.
Arbab El Fadul, the acting governor of Kassala, said that the curfew will end at 16:00 on Friday. People working in health care, water and electricity companies, and the state media are excempted.
Police and other security forces were heavily deployed. Reinforcements have been sent from Khartoum.
Supporters of Governor Saleh Ammar announced that a march will be organised in Kassala today, demanding his speedy arrival from Khartoum to assume his duties.
Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok responded to the violence by ordering “the imposition of the prestige of the state and the Rule of Law” in the eastern Sudanese state.
The disputed governor, a member of the eastern Sudanese Beni Amer tribe, is still in the Sudanese capital. He said in his address for Eid El Adha in end July that the cabinet postponed his departure after fierce protests erupted against his appointment.
The High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftainships, including the leadership of the Hadendawa clan, categorical reject Saleh Ammar as their new governor, and have repeatedly demanded that he be replaced.
The long-awaited appointment of civilian governors in Sudan in end July elicited divergent responses in the country. At a press conference in Omdurman a month ago, a leading member of the National Umma Party accused the government of violating the agreed principles by appointing governors with a military background in fragile states such as Kassala. He warned that this may lead to armed conflicts.
The Kassala Central Council of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) welcomes Ammar. A few days ago, the FFC called on Khartoum to allow the newly appointed governor to travel to Kassala to assume his role within the next two days in order avoid a “political and security vacuum”.
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