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Sudan forces seize weapons, motorcycles in Kassala security crackdown

September 3 - 2020 KASSALA
A hotel is set on fire during the clashes in Kassala on 25 August (Social media)
A hotel is set on fire during the clashes in Kassala on 25 August (Social media)

The joint forces in Kassala have announced the seizure of quantities of edged weapons and firearms during a large-scale inspection campaign following recent clan violence in the town that claimed several lives and saw the town’s market torched.

The campaign included checks and searches on the main roads and entrances to the town. Several motorcycles were also seized that were in violation of licensing and traffic regulations.

In a press statement yesterday, the Kassala police chief emphasised the importance of maintaining security and achieving peaceful coexistence among the citizens, indicating that “the events witnessed in Kassala are unfortunate and large and should not have happened in a society known for tolerance”.

He reported that additional forces have arrived in Kassala in 10 vehicles to reinforce the existing security presence in the town.

Clean-up campaign

The Kassala Youth Emergency Room continued the campaign to clean the market, repair and paint the shops and pallets that were plundered and torched on Thursday and Friday last week. Participants in the campaign painted the verges of major roads in the market.

Violence

On August 25, 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. Ammar, who belongs to the Beni Amer tribe and has a military background, was appointed by Khartoum in late July. He is still in the Sudanese capital. The Cabinet postponed his departure after fierce protests erupted against his appointment. Beja leaders, including those of the Hadendawa clan, have repeatedly demanded that he be replaced.

On August 27, a delegation from Khartoum including the Minister of Interior Affairs Lt Gen El Tereifi Idris, Ministers of Information and Culture, Youth and Sports, in addition to a number of leaders of the Armed Forces, Rapid Support Forces, Security, Police and the representative of the Public Prosecution, arrived in Kassala.

The Kassala government declared a 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.

Native administration leaders offered to support reconciliation efforts. The Nazir* of the Shukriya tribe in Kassala and El Gedaref, Ahmed Abusin, announced that several eastern Sudanese communities have agreed on the cessation of hostilities and preserving the rule of law. They will soon sign the agreement.

At a press conference on Tuesday he said that the reconciliation efforts by Shukriya leaders led to this agreement, that seeks “to preserve the security and safety of all ethnic components of eastern Sudan”.

By Tuesday, reports reached Radio Dabanga that life in the towns is slowly returning to normal as the curfew has been lifted. Shops at the Kassala Grand Market opened their doors again on Monday, amid heavy deployment of army and paramilitary forces.

* A nazir is a state-appointed administrative chief of a tribe, according to the native administration system in Sudan.


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