October 3, 2013, Khartoum: According to Sudanese human rights activists, 150 people were killed in Sudan this week during demonstrations against the government in Khartoum, following its decision to cut subsidies on both cooking oil and fuel, which doubled the price overnight. Khartoum’s government puts the death toll at 34 and denies shooting any protesters. 700 people were also arrested and government officials are accusing people in the streets of vandalism. Central Sudan has not seen such conflict since the 1989 coup in which President Omar Hassan al-Bashir seized power.
The Sudanese Ministry of Internal Affairs said that there were indications that rebels from Sudan’s border countries were involved in the violence. He dismissed photographs circulating on the Internet of victims being shot as fake. “Most pictures on social media are actually from Egypt,” he said.
Simon Fraser, British Foreign Office Permanent Undersecretary, told reporters during a visit to Khartoum that this deadly unrest should serve as a warning to everyone including the Government to solve conflicts through national dialogue.
The situation in the west is even worse, especially in Darfur, as 800 people were killed and another 150,000 were displaced since January as a result of fights between rival tribes over the Jebel Amer gold mine in northern Darfur. Those tribes that were armed and used by the governments to suppress rebel groups are now fighting with each other to control the gold mines in that area.
The gold mine death toll is more than double the total number of people killed in the conflict between the army, rebels, and rival tribes in Darfur in 2012, according to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s quarterly reports to the Security Council.
Gold is now the main source of income for the Sudanese Government after the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which cut about three-quarters of Sudan’s oil exports, resulting in an enormous economic crisis.
The conflicts in Darfur have evolved over the last 10 years, leaving more than 200,000 dead and over two million displaced. The armed attacks in the region have taken different forms, including tribal clashes, aerial strikes by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF) and clashes between pro-government militia and armed rebels, all of which have led to civilian casualties, destruction of property, and displacement.
In July and August 2013, ongoing clashes between the Rezeigat and Maaliya tribes in East Darfur resulted in the death of many civilians. There were also reports of SAF aerial strikes on suspected armed rebel positions in the East Jebel Mara locality in South Darfur, the Afara Mountains and Tabit in North Darfur, and the Um Gonya area in South Darfur. Civilians continue to pay the price for these armed attacks and clashes, which result in serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including arbitrary deprivation of life, injury to persons, destruction of homes and businesses, destruction of livestock, and mass displacements.
Global Majority supports the call to the Sudanese community to resolve this conflict peacefully at the negotiating table.