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Sudan police chief denies involvement in ‘head-shaving campaign’

October 3 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum (file photo)
Members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum (file photo)

The Chief of Police of Khartoum has denied any involvement in the campaign set-up by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the government’s main militia, to shave the heads of youths with “deviant hair styles”.

On Monday, police chief Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Osman told the press in Khartoum that no policeman has forced young men to change their hair cuts.

He reacted to reports about RSF paramilitaries who began to shave men by force in Khartoum North two weeks ago, as part of “the fight against negative phenomena”. They were targeting youths, “especially those with haircuts like famous soccer players”.

A few days later, young men reported from the densely-populated districts of East Soba and Kalakla in southern Khartoum, about similar practices by RSF members.

Osman urged “any citizen who has been shaved in this way to lodge a complaint at the nearest police station”.

Residents of El Haj Yousef and El Jireif West in Khartoum North told Radio Dabanga on Tuesday that the militia is continuing its campaign “until now”.

They reported that a force of RSF members entered the Soug Sitta market in El Haj Yousef “just before sunset” on Monday. Another force searched for young men with particular hair styles in the Naivasha market in El Jereif West.

Most youths have stopped going to clubs to watch soccer matches with their friends in the evening. “They now watch the matches at home,” a listener said.

“Schoolchildren are terrified by the militiamen,” he added. “They run away as soon as they see their vehicles.”

The sources all consider the aim of the campaign “to suppress and terrorise the youth and prevent them from moving around in the public arena”, instead of combating “negative phenomena”.


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