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Tear gas confronts 'revolution' call at Sudan funeral

Sudanese fundamentalists shout slogans during a rally in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on March 7, 2014 in support of Muslims in neighbouring Central African Republic, where French and African troops are deployed to stop sectarian killings. Banners, written in Arabic, French and English, called French President Francois Hollande a war criminal and urged Muslim countries to "boycott" France. AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF SHAZLY

KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas Wednesday when mourners called for "revolution" following the funeral of a student allegedly gunned down by security forces at a protest against violence in Darfur.

The incident came after about 1,000 mourners had buried Ali Abaker Mussa Idris in a south Khartoum cemetery.

An AFP reporter said police resorted to tear gas as the angry crowd, shouting anti-government slogans, began moving out of the burial ground.

The public anger is the first major showing of discontent since dozens of people were gunned down in anti-regime protests last September.

Idris, a third-year economics student, died in hospital from gunshot wounds "after security forces used tear gas and opened fire with live ammunition" at the University of Khartoum demonstration on Tuesday, Amnesty International said.

In a statement on the Interior Ministry website, police did not say what killed the student. They said officers had fired only tear gas.

Many of those who attended Idris's funeral were also students.

"Peace, freedom, justice!" they shouted before the gas sent them scattering into surrounding streets of the neighbourhood near a major bus station in the capital.

"Revolution is the people's choice!" they called, after earlier shouting for the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir's regime, which seized power in an Islamist-backed coup 25 years ago.

About 12 truckloads of riot police and plainclothes security agents had been stationed around the cemetery.

Idris was killed when about 300 students, many of them from Darfur, protested at the university on Tuesday.

Activists said dozens were also arrested.

The unrest on Tuesday and Wednesday was the most serious in Khartoum since thousands of people demonstrated after the government slashed fuel subsidies in September.

Amnesty International said security forces were believed to have killed more than 200 people at that time, many of whom were shot in the head or chest.

Authorities reported a toll of less than half that.

The UN's independent expert on human rights in Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, told reporters last month that the government said it had set up two committees to probe the September events.

Several months later those committees have not yet issued their findings, he regretted.

Sudanese have suffered three years of rising prices since South Sudan separated in 2011 with the bulk of united Sudan's oil production, which accounted for most of Khartoum's export earnings and half of its fiscal revenues.

Since late 2011, the Sudanese pound has lost about 50 percent of its value on the widely used black market, while hard currency is in short supply.

Inflation has been around 40 percent, and the deteriorating economy has contributed to unrest in Darfur.

In a report to be considered by the United Nations Security Council, UN chief Ban Ki-moon says the main cause of violence and displacement in Darfur is now resource-based clashes between communities, supported by tribal militias.

Over the past two years, Sudan's faltering economy has led to worsening crime and intercommunal fighting, Ban says, adding that some cash-poor paramilitaries have joined the tribal fighting over gold and other resources.

An 11-year-old ethnic rebellion also continues in Darfur, where about two million people are displaced, according to the United Nations.

Analysts say the government can no longer control its former Arab tribal allies, whom it armed against the insurgents.

In a statement, police called on students "not to give members of the rebel movements a chance to work inside the student body, because these groups are outlaws".

University of Khartoum authorities announced an indefinite closure of the campus after the student's death.

by Abdelmoneim ABU IDRIS ALI

 

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Summary

Sudanese police fired tear gas Wednesday when mourners called for "revolution" following the funeral of a student allegedly gunned down by security forces at a protest against violence in Darfur.

An AFP reporter said police resorted to tear gas as the angry crowd, shouting anti-government slogans, began moving out of the burial ground.

Many of those who attended Idris's funeral were also students.

Idris was killed when about 300 students, many of them from Darfur, protested at the university on Tuesday.

The UN's independent expert on human rights in Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, told reporters last month that the government said it had set up two committees to probe the September events.

An 11-year-old ethnic rebellion also continues in Darfur, where about two million people are displaced, according to the United Nations.


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