(6 May.) -
On Sunday clashes broke out at the University of Khartoum between Darfuri students, their supporters, and militant students of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), backed by security forces and university guards. The violence continued on Monday, as angry students set fire to the offices of university guards at the Shambat compound in Khartoum North. Riot police fired tear gas at dozens of students protesting outside the university’s main campus in Khartoum against the violence, and the policies of President Al Bashir.
“The guards offices were set on fire in protest against the complicity of university guards with NCP student militants,” one of the students told Radio Dabanga. “On Sunday we were attacked by guards and NCP students. Ten students were wounded. All this violence is happening not more than two weeks after the lectures resumed. They were suspended after student Ali Abakar Musa was murdered at the campus in March.”
The Council of Deans issued a statement on Monday strongly condemning all methods accepting violence as a means to solve problems. It stresses the university administration’s stance on freedom of expression and respect for the opinions of others. The Council stated that the university administration had met the students’ demands by forming committees in which students participated. It had accepted the teaching staff proposal to establish a direct dialogue with the students, which had resulted in the lifting of the sit-in early April.
The statement furthermore pointed out that some of the students’ demands are related to the formation of a committee of inquiry, which lies beyond the university administration’s competence.
The Council promised that the university administration will follow up the matter with the concerned parties within due time.
Darfuri students had organised a political meeting at the University of Khartoum on 11 March, condemning the silence of the Sudanese government about the ongoing violence against civilians in Darfur. When they intended to go to the streets in a peaceful march to hand a memorandum against the violence in Darfur to the UN representative in Khartoum, security troops opened fire on them. Ali Abakar Musa, a third year economy student, was shot dead, and a number of other Darfuri students were injured. Dozens of Darfuri students were arrested.
In response, Darfuri students at the University of Khartoum threatened to boycott their studies, if the authorities would not immediately start an investigation into the killing of Musa. On 3 April, the students began an open-ended sit-in, reiterating their demand for a thorough investigation into the killing of Musa, and requesting the removal of security forces stationed in front of the university gates and at the campus. A third demand concerned the resumption of the lectures.