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Troublesome start to the week in Sudan

February 9 - 2021 EL FASHER / EL GENEINA / EL OBEID / ED DAMER
Newly displaced shelter in a school yard in El Geneina after the violent attacks (social media)
Newly displaced shelter in a school yard in El Geneina after the violent attacks (social media)

Widespread violence erupted in the North Darfur capital El Fasher yesterday as multiple buildings were set on fire. In El Geneina, a massive fire broke out at a Ministry of Education building that was used as a shelter for people who fled the recent violence in the city. In North Kordofan, protests against the high living costs continues and in River Nile state, the sit-in of railway workers entered its second day. 

People from the city told Radio Dabanga that the violence followed the arrest of the shepherds who were accused of killing the farmer Mahdi Matar on Saturday at his farm, east of El Fasher.

Various buildings were set on fire, including the Public Prosecution building, and there were several reports of injuries.

Eyewitnesses said that civilians carried firearms and sticks through the city’s market. This led to the closure of market and pharmacies. 

The authorities also closed all roads leading to the governor's house and fired tear gas at various occasions. They have further announced a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am.

El Geneina fires

On Monday, a massive fire broke out at a Ministry of Education building that is currently used as a shelter for the displaced people of El Geneina. This happened the day after the visiting government delegation met the demands of the Arab tribesmen sit-in and demanded that the displaced leave the temporary shelters and return to their camps.

The fire destroyed the tents of the displaced, their possessions, and the food provided by humanitarian organisations.

A displaced person at the shelter told Radio Dabanga that the centre is hosting hundreds of displaced people, mostly women and children, including 40 pregnant women and 46 families.

He also stressed the need for further assistance to the displaced. 

El Geneina is still recovering from last month’s violence, which left at least 163 people dead and 130,000 displaced as large groups of Arab tribesmen attacked El Geneina and caused widespread destruction. The violence was triggered by the killing of an Arab herdsman by a member of the Masalit tribe.

Fire at the temporary centre for the displaced in El Geneina (social media)

 

North Kordofan protests

In North Kordofan, high school students from El Obeid took to the streets in massive demonstrations against the high costs of living and transportation crisis. The demonstrations became violent as a number of buses were set on fire and various shops in the market were looted. 

Mohamed Ahmad, a leader from Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), told Radio Dabanga that school students carried out a peaceful march protest outside the government secretariat to denounce the economic situation and chant slogans against the state governor. When the protesters returned to Freedom Square, near the city’s market, they were confronted by the police, who used tear gas and chased them.

The North Kordofan state government declared a state of emergency and a curfew in all parts of the state from 6 pm to 6 am. They also suspended all studies. 

The government issued a statement yesterday to condemn the violent events that accompanied the demonstrations, including the burning and looting of property. They announced the formation of a committee to investigate the events.

The El Obeid Resistance Committees and a number of other parties also condemned the acts of violence but said that they guarantee the right for peaceful demonstration.

Sudan has witnessed a wave of protests in the past weeks over the steep increase in bread and fuel prices, the transport crisis, and the use of excessive force by authorities in response to these protests.

River Nile state workers sit-in

In River Nile state, the sit-in by the Railway Workers Union entered its second day yesterday. Hashim Khadar El Zaki, director union, told Radio Dabanga that the sit-in will continue as they have not received any response from the central government regarding their demands. These demands include additional wages for the months of May to August 2020 and secure pensions.


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