♦ Sudan: This week’s news in brief ♦

A compact digest of the past week’s most-read highlights, from the heart of Sudan.

Sudanese novelist Sara El Jak (social media)

A compact digest of the past week's most-read highlights, from the heart of Sudan. Subscribe to receive this digest weekly in your inbox.

‘Sudan Public Order Law still being implemented’: SIHA Network

September 3 – 2021 KAMPALA According to the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), crimes of gender-based violence against women by Sudanese security and military forces continue to be the norm in the public and private spheres across the country.  

SIHA urges the Sudanese government to “challenge the persistent practice of impunity” regarding crimes committed by Sudanese law enforcement agencies.

The authorities should “repeal the laws that hinder victims and survivors from accessing justice, and enact laws to protect women and girls against sexual and gender-based violence, especially during detention, interrogation, and imprisonment”. Victims of gender-based violence should receive substantial medical and psychosocial support.

In November 2019, the Sudanese government repealed the Public Order Law, which disproportionately affected women. The move was widely welcomed.

Two die as rebel fighters clash with Sudanese forces in Soba, Khartoum

September 2 – 2021 KHARTOUM Two people have reportedly died and an unknown number were injured during an exchange of fire between former rebel fighters and Sudanese joint forces at the Rahaf residential complex in Soba in south-east Khartoum on Wednesday. The joint forces had arrived to eject the militants from the complex, which the authorities say they were “occupying illegally”.

Media sources reported the arrest of seven former rebel combatants, while others fled into the neighbourhoods of Soba.

In a press statement, the Ministry of Interior Affairs explained that the Rahaf residential complex is one of the social insurance projects of the Sudanese police.

The Sudan Police hosted peace delegations from several armed struggle movements at the complex in October 2020 for one month, “as a contribution to support the peace process”. After the expiry of the hosting period, many members of the movements remained at the site.

Inspirational Women series: Interview with novelist Sara El Jak on literature, womanhood, and empowerment

September 6 – 2021 DABANGA SUDAN For Inspirational Women series, Radio Dabanga interviewed novelist and social activist Sara El Jak, one of the few successful Sudanese women novelists.

At the age of nine, Sara's love for writing began with the encouragement and support of her mother, who was keen to buy books and to make reading a habit not only for Sara but also for her young friends in the neighbourhood.

After graduating from university, she returned to her love of writing short stories, but the problems she witnessed in Sudanese society led her to write more in-depth and detailed novels, such as Once Upon a Betrayal (2013), about racism and power dynamics.

In 2020, Sara set up the Faal Cultural Centre, trains young women in reading and writing and gives them books for distribution. The aim is “to help them gain an income that could prevent girls from a fate characterised by harassment, sexual exploitation, and early marriage”.

More news stories

Villages and farms swept away by flash floods across Sudan

September 7 – 2021 EL JEBELEIN / KHARTOUM / ATBARA / PORT SUDAN Flash floods following torrential rains have left a swath of destruction across Sudan. Entire farms and villages have been swept away, the capital Khartoum has been hit hard, and essential road links disrupted, while there are concerns that floods will also inundate the camps hosting thousands of South Sudanese refugees.

Livestock deaths prompt fear of Rift Valley fever and chikungunya outbreak in northern Sudan

September 7 – 2021 MEROWE Doctors in Sudan’s Northern State have reported 27 deaths and 68 miscarriages among livestock in the area of El Nafaab in Merowe locality, and warn of the emergence of cases of Rift Valley fever* and chikungunya**, similar to last year. They have appealed to the Ministry of Health and the state government to deal with the potential epidemic in a safe manner.

UNITAMS hosts meeting to operationalise permanent ceasefire in Darfur

September 6 – 2021 KHARTOUM A two-day technical consultative meeting is currently under way in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, to take a first step toward operationalising the Permanent Ceasefire Committee for Darfur, which was stipulated in the Juba Peace Agreement of October 2020. The meetings began at El Salam Rotana Hotel in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Sunday, convened by the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), which chairs the committee.

Marauding gunmen wreaking havoc in North Darfur

September 6 – 2021 TABIT / EL SEREIF BENI HUSSEIN A group of gunmen riding camels and motorcycles is reportedly wreaking havoc in the area of Tabit in North Darfur, with other incidents of banditry and violence being reported daily across the state.

Central Darfur university closed, students evicted from dorms

September 3 – 2021 ZALINGEI / KHARTOUM The situation in Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur, has reportedly returned to normal after the violent incidents on Tuesday which led to the killing of one student and the injury of many others. Zalingei University has been closed until further notice. A number of students evicted from dormitories in the town, are now living in the open.

African Centre: Sudan must do more to protect detainees from COVID-19

September 3 – 2021 NEW YORK The Sudanese government must urgently develop a comprehensive plan to prevent and respond to a COVID-19 outbreak in detention facilities across the country, says the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

Economist: Sudan govt set the wrong priorities

September 1 – 2021 KHARTOUM The continued deterioration of the economic and living conditions in Sudan are a result of failing government policies since August 2019, says economic expert Sidgi Kaballo.