Dozens of people, many of them university students, were arrested after participating in the protests that started on 30th January. Since then, I’ve spent some time trying to get more reliable information on the detained protesters, and the protests themselves.
The information I learned from sources in Khartoum corresponds pretty well with what’s posted here.
PROTESTERS AT RISK OF TORTURE IN SUDAN
On 30 January, around 2,000 people gathered in Khartoum for a peaceful demonstration. More than 70 people were arrested, with 20 still held in detention, including a large number of people in the streets before they reached the demonstrations. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and riot police reportedly used batons and tear gas to break up the demonstrations. Many of those arrested were injured. Reports suggest that a student demonstrator, Mohamed Abdelrahman died in hospital on 31 January, after being injured as the police dispersed the demonstrators.
Ahmad Mahmoud, Louis Awil Weriak, Yousif and Salah Mubarak Al Mahdi, Mahmoud Kamal Ibrahim Ahmed are amongst those reportedly still detained by the NISS. Witnesses say that Louis Awil Weriak, a southern Sudanese, was tortured and is in a very poor physical condition.
None of the detainees have had any charges made against them up to date. Many of the detainees were reportedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated in NISS detention. An unknown number of people are still being held in NISS custody.
I have been told that Ahmad Mahmoud, the detainee mentioned above, is the Sudanese blogger, Zoulcolm X, the person who published a kick-ass blog post on the South’s separation, which I linked to previously. It seems that he’s under significant danger of continued harsh treatment at the hands of the NISS, and may have possibly faced torture already. We know that Louis has to a terrible extent, probably because he’s a Southerner.
Not surprisingly, many are enraged, especially the mothers of those arrested. They have protested the detainment of their sons but were then dispersed. They’re still determined to free them though.
All in all, the situation remains quiet tense, and uncertain, and while the protests still haven’t gained traction, they still could, especially if economic conditions continue to worsen (which they very probably will after the South separates) and also if the NCP continues to maintain total control over decision making.
Political tensions are growing in North Sudan as the South preparers to break away. Opposition parties are becoming increasingly frustrated with the full hegemony of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) over the state and decision making process.
The Sudanese president and NCP chairman Omer Hassan Al-Bashir vowed to allow opposition to become part of a broad-based government after the South’s independence.
The invitation drew mixed response though some opposition parties are reportedly in talks with the NCP on the details of the offer extended by Bashir.
Sudan is also in a deep economic crisis as budget deficit widened and inflation levels are soaring forcing the government to resort to unpopular measures such as removing subsidies on sugar and petroleum products.
As for the Facebook groups that the youth have been using to organize, publish reports and call for more protests, things aren’t that promising or accurate anymore for now it seems, because they’ve been infiltrated by NISS operatives and NCP members.
More later including a possible audio interview with someone who participated in one of the early protests in Khartoum, and an analysis of Sudanese-American relations in light of all the big events we’re witnessing in Sudan.
Meanwhile, on a side note, long live the Egyptian revolution! The bitch ass dictator has been forced out, along with his corrupt banker-turned-politician son, Gamal Mubarak.