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Urban Planning Minister questioned on demolished eastern Sudan district

October 3 - 2017 KASSALA
A tear gas cannister used by riot police against residents who protested the demolition of El Salam district in Kassala town, on 30 September and 1 October (RD)
A tear gas cannister used by riot police against residents who protested the demolition of El Salam district in Kassala town, on 30 September and 1 October (RD)

A member of the Kassala state Legislative Council questions the minister of Urban Planning on the demolition of El Salam district and the accompanying arrests of people last Sunday.

Council member Ali Akat wrote a memorandum to question the state minister of Urban Planning. He said he expects the hearing will be on Wednesday or Thursday the latest.

Akat rose the memorandum against the backdrop of the demolition of El Salam district in Kassala town that started on Saturday and ended on Sunday. Riot police used violence and tear gas to disperse protesters, including residents, and arrested a number of them.

The now displaced residents received support from philanthropic initiatives in Kassala. “The state government stood idly by,” Akat told Radio Dabanga.

He added that a committee now conducts an inventory of the damage caused to the residents when their houses and properties were demolished. “Some of them built their houses out of fixed materials, which means that the financial loss is greater for them.”

According to Akat the incident can be seen as targeting residents “in order to get them out of this unique area, which is located opposite one of the finest districts in Kassala, which makes these residential lands expensive”.

He appealed to supporters and philanthropists in Kassala state and in the rest of Sudan to help the people who have lost their houses and property in El Salam.

Riot police

The demolition last weekend was carried out by bulldozers and dozens of vehicles of the Sudanese army and riot police. “They fired heavily-modified tear gas on the buildings and set fire to the houses, including property, before the bulldozers started to destroy the houses, said Ali Idris Osman, the member of the State Legislative Council representing the Eastern Front. “The district has been completely levelled.”

Osman reported that residents did not have an opportunity to take out their property from their houses before they were destroyed.

The state government warned residents of El Salam about the removal with a statement that was broadcast by Kassala TV on Thursday. The statement explained that the people have resided here illegally. Meanwhile the owners of the plots claim to have official papers that prove the ownership of the land for the last 30 years.

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