March 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese riot police used tear gas to disperse crowds at the funeral of a student who was shot in a demonstration in Khartoum on Tuesday.
- An image grab taken from AFP TV shows Sudanese demonstrators running for cover from tear gas fired by police during a protest outside the Wad Nabawi mosque in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman on July 6, 2012 (AFP Photo)
Ali Abakr Moussa Idris, a third-year economics student at the University of Khartoum (U of K), died in hospital of gunshot wounds sustained during the demonstration.
The protest was organised by students from Darfur following a public rally denouncing the deteriorating security situation in the region.
Amnesty International condemned the “use of excessive and unlawful force” against protesters.
“Credible accounts by eyewitnesses at the University of Khartoum protest point to police and Sudanese intelligence (NISS) officers using tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters. The authorities must rein in the security forces and prevent them from using such excessive force,” said Netsanet Belay, AI’s Africa director of research and advocacy.
But the Sudanese police denied using live ammunition to disperse the students and have instead held the armed rebel groups responsible for the incident.
More than 3,000 people took part in the funeral at Sahafa cemetery in Khartoum south. They held banners calling for retribution and overthrowing the regime besides demanding political forces not to respond to the government’s call for national dialogue.
They shouted “killing of a student is killing of a nation”, “million martyr for a new regime”, “no dialogue with bloodshed”.
The riot police cordoned the cemetery and used tear gas to disperse the crowd immediately after the burial.
Several political leaders addressed the crowed pointing the death of the student represents a clear message that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is not serious about holding a genuine national dialogue.
The secretary general of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Ibrahim Al-Amin, said the death of the student has defeated the call for dialogue, stressing that it sends a strong message to opposition parties who are rushing for dialogue with the NCP.
The U of K administration said on Wednesday it formed a fact finding commission to investigate the killing of the student besides filing two charges under articles 130 premeditated murder and 139 wounding with intent.
The university’s council of deans condemned the use of violence and introduction of arms inside the campus and issued a decision following the incident suspending classes until further notice.
U of K spokesperson Abdel-Malik al-Nai’em said the decision to suspend classes was taken after profound study of the situation and to avoid recurrence of violence among students, saying the dead student was a victim of clashes among students inside the campus.
He stressed the commission would investigate how arms were brought inside campus and affirmed weakness of the university guards due to lack of personnel and powers, calling for assigning regular force to protect security and safety of the students.
Al-Nai’em attributed growing violence among students to weakness of political arguments as well as using student organizations to serve agendas of political parties.
In a statement issued on Monday, the police said it would undertake all efforts to uncover the circumstances of the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice, affirming it wouldn’t allow attempts to undermine the security and stability of citizens.