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Thousands of Sudanese Hausa protest after deadly clashes across country

#Thousands #Sudanese #Hausa #protest #deadly #clashes #country

Thousands of Sudanese Hausa protested in several cities on Tuesday, demanding justice for dozens of comrades killed in a deadly land dispute with a rival ethnic group in the south of the country.

The protests, sparked by anger over recent violence, are the latest unrest to have swept through the north-east African nation, which has already been rocked by months of mass demonstrations demanding the restoration of a transition to civilian rule following a military coup last year.

At least 79 people have been killed and 199 injured since fierce fighting broke out between the Berti and Hausa groups in Blue Nile state last week, the Department of Health says.

While the army was stationed in Blue Nile and fighting there was crushed, protests have since erupted in other states, with demonstrations on the streets of the capital Khartoum, as well as in the key eastern cities of Gedaref, Kassala and Port Sudan.

On Tuesday, Hausa protesters in Khartoum held up signs calling for “Justice for the Blue Nile Martyrs” and “No to the murder of Hausas”.

Fighting reportedly broke out on July 11 after Bertis rejected a Hausa request to create a “civilian authority to monitor access to land,” a prominent Hausa member told AFP on condition of anonymity.

But a senior Berti leader said the group was responding to a “violation” of their country by the Hausas.

Deadly clashes over land, livestock, access to water and grazing land regularly occur in Sudan, particularly in gun-filled areas still struggling under the effects of decades of civil war.

– ‘Revenge’ –

But experts say a coup in October led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has sparked a resurgence in ethnic violence.

In Gedaref, around 4,000 people demonstrated and chanted “Hausa are citizens too” and “Revenge for the Martyrs of the Blue Nile”.

Around 500 people also blocked the highway in the town of Al-Showak in Gedaref state, eyewitness Saleh Abbas told AFP.

In El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state, around 3,000 marched in the streets shouting “The Hausa will win”, while in Port Sudan on the Red Sea, thousands of Hausa gathered outside local government offices demanding “justice for the martyrs”. . .

In Kassala, authorities banned public gatherings after thousands of Hausa protesters “set government buildings and businesses on fire,” said Hussein Saleh, another witness.

One of the poorest countries in the world and mired in an economic crisis that has deepened since Burhan took power last year, Sudan has rarely seen intermittent civilian rule since independence.

Blue Nile, where fighting broke out last week, was a key battlefield for rebels trying to overthrow former President Omar al-Bashir during Sudan’s civil war from 1983 to 2005, with fighting resuming in 2011.

After massive protests against his rule, the army ousted Bashir in 2019.

The following year, a civil-military power-sharing government reached a peace deal with key rebel groups, including those in Blue Nile and the war-ravaged western Darfur region.

Darfur has also seen a renewed spike in deadly violence in recent months.

Pro-democracy activists have accused the Sudanese military and former rebel leaders who signed the peace deal of escalating ethnic tensions for political gain, allegations they deny.

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