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Protest, more arrests in Central Darfur university

November 20 - 2015 ZALINGEI
A protest by Sudanese students (file photo)
A protest by Sudanese students (file photo)

At least thirteen students at the University of Zalingei in Central Darfur were arrested on Thursday, when they participated in a protest against the expulsion of nineteen other students earlier this week.

The protest on Thursday escalated after members of the security service arrived in a large number of vehicles to intervene, using gunfire and tear gas to disperse the students. Angrily, the protesters torched the office of the Dean and the office of student followers of the ruling National Congress Party. The security agents arrested thirteen protesters. Four of them sustained injuries and were arrested later in the hospital.

The spokesman for the Zalingei University, Mahdi Tajeldin, claimed that the angry students are affiliated with the United Popular Front (UPF) of Darfuri rebel leader Abdel Wahid El Nur. Their protest erupted against the backdrop of the expulsion of nineteen students of the university last Tuesday, on charges of affiliation with the UPF.

“The students recently held a speech inside the university against the norms of the Sudanese society.”

Being a member of the UPF or any political party and conducting political events violates the regulation for students at the university, and is banned by the administration, Tajeldin told Radio Dabanga.

“Students from outside the Zalingei University have held a public event here,” the spokesman said. “They held a speech against the norms of the Sudanese society.” He did not want to elaborate on what was discussed by the students. A witness confirmed to Radio Dabanga that a public speech was held recently by students from outside the university, after which nineteen students who attended the event were banned from Zalingei for a year, on charges of UPF affiliation.

On Tuesday, three students were arrested and taken to an unknown destination. The following day students started demanding the return of the expelled students, leading to the protest on Thursday. Two students were injured when torching one of the offices, according to Tajeldin. Also a bus owned by the university was set ablaze.

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