FRESH PROTESTS ERUPT IN SUDAN OVER ECONOMIC WOES


23.12.2018
Demonstrations continued in Sudan for a fourth day on Saturday over the deteriorating economic conditions in the country. 

Protests broke out in several cities, including Er-Rahad in northern Sudan, the southern town of Berber and El-Gadarif and El-Obeid in eastern Sudan. 

Eyewitnesses said demonstrators in Er-Rahad torched the headquarters of the ruling National Congress party. 

In Aba Island, demonstrations erupted after the funeral of a citizen who was killed during Friday’s protests against soaring inflation and acute bread shortages. 

The island is the main stronghold of the Ansar religious group led by prominent opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi. 

Public anger has been building in Sudan over price hikes, inflation and a double in cost of bread this year. 

A nation of 40 million people, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of three quarters of its oil output – its main source of foreign currency – when South Sudan seceded in 2011. 

Sudanese authorities have announced a state of emergency and curfew in a number of provinces over the protests, which have left at least eight people dead, according to official estimates.

 

- 22 people die during protests, opposition says

However, al-Mahdi -- who is also the leader of the National Umma Party -- put the death toll from the demonstrations at 22 people. 

Speaking at a press conference in Khartoum, al-Mahdi said he will "deliver a memorandum to the government for setting a new presidency for the country". 

“We will consult with all political forces in the country about the articles of the memorandum and when to submit it,” he said. 

"If the government responds to the memorandum, it will be better, and if they do not, we will call for a general strike followed by the rest of the uprising scenario," he said. 

Al-Mahdi denied that his recent return to the country from exile after 10 months abroad was based on an agreement with the Sudanese government. 

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has been in power since 1989. 

Meanwhile, Sudanese security forces reportedly arrested 14 opposition leaders over the ongoing protests in the country. 

Farouk Abu Issa, the head of the National Consensus Forces, was among those arrested, an alliance of opposition parties said in a statement. 

According to the statement, the opposition figures were arrested during a meeting held to “carry out political strike and civil disobedience in support of the struggle of the masses”. 

There was no comment from Sudanese authorities on the arrests.

- Protestors set fire

The protesters have set fire to the government headquarters, offices of the ruling party and the house of the governor of the North Kordofan state.

Eyewitnesses from Al-Obied the capital of the North Kordofan state told Anadolu Agency that hundreds of protesters have set fire to the headquarters of the government, the office of the ruling party in Obied as well as the house of the governor of the state Ahmed Haroun.

They also confirmed that the mobs have also set fire to the ruling party office in Rahad city in the state.

Khartoum has accused Israel of plotting against Sudan by supporting and training the Sudanese rebels to disturb the protests and use violence against the government buildings and the civilians.

Sudan also decided to close the universities and the schools as protests rocked most of the cities.

 

Anadolu Agency

energy@aa.com.tr

23.12.2018 · SUDAN