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Youth launch clean-up campaign as life in Sudan’s Kassala ‘returns to normal’

September 1 - 2020 KASSALA
A hotel is set on fire during the clashed in Kassala on 25 August (Social media)
A hotel is set on fire during the clashed in Kassala on 25 August (Social media)

The Kassala Youth Emergency Room, with support of the Kassala local authorities has, launched a clean-up campaign at the town’s market, especially the parts that were plundered and torched on Thursday and Friday.

The latest reports from Kassala to reach Radio Dabanga say 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.

El Tayeb Ali, member of the media office of the Emergency Room, told Radio Dabanga that a large number of young men and women are participating in the clean-up campaign.

By Monday afternoon, about 70 per cent of the market was clean again. In the coming days, the volunteers will re-paint the affected shops and stalls, in coordination with members of other initiatives.

Ali said that they will seek to collect money to compensate the owners for the goods they lost, and to rebuild the part of the market called the Women’s Market that entirely burned down.

The Kassala police chief donated SDG1 million* and the Chamber of Commerce gave SDG500.000 for the rehabilitation of the market.

Police chief Lt Gen Ezzeldin El Sheikh announced in a press conference on Sunday evening that a department of the Information Crimes Prosecution will be opened in Kassala. He warned all Sudanese “at home and abroad” against posting hate speech, as “they will be brought to justice”.

On Sunday and Monday, Kassala witnessed the arrival of a number of delegations seeking to restore peaceful coexistence among the warring tribesmen, including the National Initiative to Promote Peace, an initiative of the Nazirs* of El Shukriya and El Bawadara tribes, and a proposal by Suleiman Ali Bitai, Sheikh of the Koran schools in Hamashkoreib, to calm the situation in the town.

Mohamed El Mirghani, a leader of the Khatmiya Sufi order, popular in eastern Sudan, called on all communities in Kassala “to make concessions in order to preserve social peace and to avoid aggressive blocs, bilateral solutions, and the spread of stupidity”.

Governor

Tribal fighting broke out in Kassala town on Tuesday 25 August, 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 Ammar to the state. Clashes broke out again and another man was killed. According to several witnesses, the security forces reacted late to the fighting.

The fighting continued on Thursday. Four people were killed and dozens of others were wounded. Hundreds of people armed with knives and sticks plundered the Kassala Grand Market and set fire to a large number of shops.

The clashes coincided with a march organised by opponents of the new governor, in which thousands of Beja tribesmen, headed by Hadendawa Nazir Sayed Tirik, called for the replacement of Ammar.

Activists hold the Kassala security committee responsible for the violence, and have expressed their astonishment about allowing protest marches despite the curfew.

* USD 1 = SDG 55.1375 at the time of posting. Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS). This weekend, the greenback reached SDG200 at the parallel market of Khartoum.

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


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