April 1, 2011 (Al-QADARIF) – A Sudanese football player has been arrested by security authorities in the country’s eastern state of Al-Qadarif for celebrating a goal he scored in a local match by lifting a banner saying “down Inqaz,” in reference to the name of the team he scored against, but unfortunately for him the name also happened to refer the government of President Al-Bashir.
Agents of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Thursday swiftly moved to arrest Anas Abdullah, a footballer who plays for Al-Shabab Club in Al-Galabat locality in Al-Qadarif state, shortly after the end of a football match in which he lifted a banner saying “down Inqaz” in celebration of a goal he scored against a local team bearing the same name.
The trouble for the player was that the word Inqaz, which translates into salvation, is also commonly used in Sudan to refer to the regime of President Al-Bashir which used the name as its original alias when it seized power in a military coup in 1989. However, Al-Bashir’s regime later re-named itself the National Congress Party (NCP).
The footballer Anas reported that NISS agents insisted during his interrogation that he means down to Al-Inqaz government and not to the team he scored against. He said they asked him not to leave the state and report to the NISS local office on Sunday.
Al-Qadarif state has been embroiled in controversy since the NCP appointed as state governor Karam Allah Abbas who is accused of applying a “Talibanic” version of Shari’ah Islamic laws in the state.
Karam Allah stepped up the implementation of the so-called “chastity law,” sparking a popular outrage when a large number of young girls were beaten and arrested in the state’s local market in July 2010 before facing trial under the charge of “indecent dressing.”
It was during a speech in Al-Qadarif state last year that President Al-Bashir announced that north Sudan would transform into “an Islamic state” following the secession of south Sudan which voted for independence in a referendum held last January.
President Al-Bashir’s government has been facing growing dissent from youth groups disgruntled by worsening economic conditions and rising unemployment.
The government recently installed measures preventing peaceful demonstrations and announced it had unleashed “cyber-Jihadists” to wage a counter campaign against anti-government youth using the internet to stage a popular uprising inspired by current events in the Middle East.