Sudan burns Darfur businesses and student dormitories in Khartoum

By Alpha Fur-bell

“There are slow ongoing killings of people from the Darfur and students living in Khartoum”, said Idris Haron, a Darfurian small business owner in Khartoum.

The Sudanese government forces and its supported militias (Janjaweed) set more than 100 retails shops on fire in mid-December 2012 and in January 2013 at Al Haj Youssef town local market, eastern Nile province in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. Al Haj Yourself is a well-known place with majority of inhabitants from Darfur. Shops in the town’s local markets are ran by either Darfurians who fled the recent conflict in Darfur or their descendant living in the towns.

Since the conflict started in Darfur in 2003, the people of Darfur living in Khartoum, particularly in Al haj Youssef and Mayo, has been the target of the Sudanese government. Over 500 Darfurians have been taken from their homes by the Sudanese security forces and killed.

The government of Sudan killed more than 700,000 people in Darfur and now turned to kill Darfurians living in big towns such as Khartoum.

An eye witness whose name cannot be identified for security reasons, reported in January, this year alone 12 Darfurians including two teachers and 5 university students were killed in Al haj Youssef and Mayo areas, which have high residency of people from Darfur.Scores of armed men in civilian uniforms and vehicles attacked SookSetta (a local market) in Al haj Youssef and Mayo, firing on civilians, looting and burning Darfurians shops. An eye witness said,“The attackers were from the Sudanese government armed forces and members of the ‘Janjaweed’, a militia the Sudanese government has deployed alongside the army that committed genocide in Darfur”.

Here is the account of the eye witness whose shop was set alight in his present:

“My own grocery shop in Al haj Youssef was burnt to ashes in front of my eyes and I could not stop it because they would have shot me. I have been left with nothing, I do not know where to start and how to feed my family. We Darfuris in Khartoum live like in a heel. We cannot go back to Darfur because we lost everything and no security and we cannot live in Khartoum because the government knows us and targets us. It is too harsh for us everywhere in Sudan”.

The eyewitness also reported that that the police force, with back-up from the Sudanese army, surrounded the local market in Al haj Youssef watching shops burning from the sidelines, adding the government was totally behind the burning of Darfurians shops.

Moreover, in early February 2013, pro-government militias stormed the dormitories of students from Darfur studying at the universities in Khartoum and set them on fire. According to the Sudan Tribune around 27 rooms housing more than 132 university students were damaged. Sudanese State media has reported that no deaths or injuries to students and that the destruction to Darfur student houses was marginal.

However, independent sources reported that more than 25 Darfuri students lost their lives during the incident and dorms were totally damaged. Other sources reported that the Sudanese government is continuously arming the Islamists students loyal to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) at different universities to disrupt the academic year for those students coming from Darfur.

“The aim for burning Darfurian student dormitories was to create accommodation problems and force them to leave dorms and the universities in Khartoum”, said a Darfur student in Khartoum.

The lack of security for Darfur students at universities in Khartoum has forced many students to discontinue their studies, fearing attacks and violent acts from pro-government militias and the security forces.

Khartoum University has admitted that students from Darfur are facing various problems from the government that include violent acts, deliberate suspension, detention without charge and forced disappearance of those student who speak against the behavior of the Islamist government in Khartoum.

Rights activists argued that the Sudanese law obviously discriminates against Darfurians and that the Sudanese government is behind any heinous activities against people of Darfur and university students in Khartoum and throughout Sudan.

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