Home | News    Wednesday 21 January 2015

South Darfur governor bans assemblies amid violent protests

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January 20, 2015 (NYALA) – South Darfur state capital of Nyala witnessed violent demonstrations on Tuesday in protest of the killing of a resident at the hands of the government militia known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which took place on Monday.

Armored vehicles prevent demonstrators in Nyala, South Darfur from entering the government’s headquarters on 20 January 2015 (ST)

According to eyewitnesses who spoke to Sudan Tribune on Monday, the two men entered into a heated argument for unknown reasons after which the RSF soldier tried to hit the victim named Ahmed Mohammed Daoud using a whip which prompted the victim to take out a knife.

But before he could use it, another RSF member at the scene quickly fired gunshots at Daoud, killing him instantly.

The incident triggered panic and disarray among ordinary citizens who were present.

Hundreds of people took to the streets to demonstrate after yesterday’s evening prayers and marched towards the headquarters of South Darfur governor to protest the killing.

But police forces confronted the protesters and shut down Mecca bridge leading to the house of the governor, and fired shots in the air and tear gas forcing protesters to retreat.

Authorities sent large military reinforcements to the center of Nyala, in anticipation of further riots.

On Tuesday, demonstrators gathered in front of the headquarters of the state government secretariat asking to meet the governor as armored cars and vehicles surrounded the building.

According to a Sudan Tribune reporter, demonstrations swept the north and south parts of the city on Tuesday morning with the participation of students and ordinary citizens which created traffic and led to the closure of all markets and schools.

Streets were mostly empty amid heavy police presence and army units were seen in a state of readiness in the nearby garrison.

Furthermore, an aircraft was seen flying over the city at the onset of the demonstrations after rumors spoke of a gathering by the victim’s relatives on horsebacks coming from ad al-Fursan area near Nyala.

Sudan Tribune has confirmed that five injured citizens were hospitalised in Nyala hospital, while 11 others were arrested and taken to central Nyala police station.

South Darfur governor Adam Mahmoud Garalnabi accused infiltrators of standing behind the demonstrations and called it unjustified as authorities have taken the necessary legal proceedings against the RSF soldier.

He asserted at a news conference on Tuesday that police arrested the accused and seized the murder weapon and vowed to prosecute the offender.

The governor said that the police dealt gently with protesters because most of them were women and children and revealed that nine people were injured, including five demonstrators and four police officers.

He instructed the police to take tough measures to prevent gatherings and emphasized that the situation in Nyala is now under control, praising the efforts of the civil administrations in cooperation of the state government to contain the situation.

He asserted that his government would not deal lightly with those behind the confusion and disorder in Nyala, adding that authorities will not hesitate to enforce emergency orders including the existing ban on driving SUV’s which is due to expire in two months.

South Darfur is witnessing a constitutional vacuum for three months after the governorwas relieved of his position due to changes within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

The state has also witnessed a near total security breakdown in recent months with recurrent incidents of looting, banditry and murder including from pro-government militias.

Businessmen and commercial convoys in South Darfur are regularly attacked by armed gangs which demand ransom for their release.

Last July, governor Jar al-Nabi, declared an indefinite emergency situation in South Darfur state, including a curfew from 7pm to 7am (local time) in the capital Nyala.

The decision also banned riding of motorcycles by more than one person, holding weapons while wearing civilian clothes, vehicles driving around without license plates, and wearing a kadamool (a turban which covers the face).

It also prohibited tinted glasses on cars in Nyala even for government officials unless permission is being obtained from the traffic police. The decision further prevented firing of gunshots in social events in Nyala.

A special tribunal has been set up to investigate crimes, with residents supplied with phone numbers to contact authorities to report crimes and other violations of the emergency laws.

(ST)

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