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Eastern Sudan’s Kassala short of food

August 31 - 2020 KASSALA
Tribal clashes in Kassala last week (Social media)
Tribal clashes in Kassala last week (Social media)

People in eastern Sudan’s Kassala are suffering from a lack of basic consumer goods after the the town’s main market was torched on Thursday.

People told Radio Dabanga from Kassala  that shop keepers have transferred their goods to their homes to keep them safe after the town’s main market was plundered and torched on Thursday. Wholesale shops are closed as well.

They also reported an increase of people leaving Kassala and seeking refuge in Khartoum and other states.

Resistance Committees active in Kassala, various communities, and individuals have set up initiatives to provide basic commodities “at regular prices”, monitor bakeries that are known for selling bread illegally, and secure the districts.

The sources also said that joint delegation from the localities Atbara River, New Halfa, and Khashm El Girba arrived in Kassala yesterday with the aim to start a peaceful coexistence initiative.

On Saturday, the Kassala government declared the State of Emergency in the state for a period of three months, subject to renewal. Members of the Native Administration and the police informed the people about the new procedures. They urged the removal of the barricades on the main roads.

Protest vigil

In Khartoum, Kassala activists organised a protest vigil in front of the offices of the Council of Ministers on Saturday, demanding that the newly appointed state governor assumes his duties within 48 hours.

In a memorandum handed to the Cabinet, the activists demand the dismissal of the Secretary-General of the Kassala government and the Kassala police chief. All those involved in the recent tribal fighting must to be brought to justice.

The protestors hold the state Security Committee accountable for intervening “too late” after the fighting broke out. They further insist that the public prosecution opens an Information Crimes department in the town.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok assured the people of Kassala that “the government is working hard to end the culture of violence” in the region. “Ending the sharp divisions between the local communities will be hard and continuous work in the face of the institutional vacuum the country is suffering from.”

Governor

On Tuesday 25 August, tribal fighting broke out when members of the Hadendawa clan attacked a group of Beni Amer, who organised a march in the town in support of their fellow tribesman Saleh Ammar, the newly appointed governor of Kassala. One person was killed and at least 18 others were injured.

The next day, thousands of people ignored the curfew and took to the streets, demanding the speedy arrival of Governor Saleh Ammar to the state. Clashes broke out again and another man was killed. According to several witnesses, the security forces reacted late to the fighting.

The fighting continued on Thursday. Four people were killed and dozens of others were wounded. Hundreds of people armed with knives and sticks plundered the Kassala Grand Market and set fire to a large number of shops.

The clashes coincided with a march organised by opponents of the new governor, in which thousands of Beja tribesmen, headed by Hadendawa Nazir Sayed Tirik, called for the replacement of Ammar.

Activists hold the Kassala security committee responsible for the violence, and have expressed their astonishment about allowing protest marches despite the curfew.

For decades, Kassala and its mountainous surroundings have been the most favourite location for honeymoons in Sudan.


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