Another ‘opposition’ student killed as protests spread

One student was killed and three wounded last Wednesday in clashes between government and opposition supporters at Sudan’s Omdurman Ahlia University. Just a week earlier, at the University of Kordofan, a student was killed – reportedly by security agents – and more than 20 injured, triggering protests at universities across the country.

According to Sudan Tribune there have also been two weeks of violent confrontations in the capital between University of Khartoum students and police, following press reports that the government intended to move the institution and lease out its premises.

Police intervened at Omdurman Ahlia University in Omdurman – Sudan’s biggest city, located across the Nile river from Khartoum – on 27 April after violence erupted between students affiliated to the ruling National Congress Party or NCP and opposition-supporting students.

Sudan Tribune said the student killed was Mohamed al-Sadiq Tambash (20), a second year arts student. “According to the medical report seen by Sudan Tribune Tambash, who is the son of a famous football player, was shot in the left side of the chest adjacent to the heart.”

The local publication reported eyewitnesses as saying Tambash was shot during a political forum organised at the university by the Nuba Mountains Students’ Association, and that “NCP affiliates attacked the attendees”.

AFP reported that “violence erupted when security forces confronted angry students who spilled out of the campus”.

The protesters, who were “demanding the release of fellow students arrested in previous demonstrations at Sudanese universities”, clashed with plain-clothed police, a protestor told AFP. Later last Wednesday, the NCP said in a statement that the student was “shot dead with a pistol outside the campus”.

An AFP correspondent reported hundreds of students carrying the body of Tambash from Omdurman hospital “covered in a white shroud to his home in an impoverished neighbourhood of the city. ‘Killing of student means killing of nation!’ angry students chanted as they marched.”

The university condemned the killing and closed indefinitely.

Ongoing trouble

The spiralling unrest appears to be a combination of political conflict and general student discontent that has been building up for years, accompanied by a security backlash.

The previous week, Amnesty International described the killing of Abubakar Hassan Mohamed Taha (18) at the University of Kordofan in Al-Obeid, some 560 kilometres southwest of Khartoum, as “the latest incident in a brutal crackdown against students that began in 2012 and has seen scores killed, injured or detained”.

Amnesty International called for an urgent investigation into the killing and the wounding of more than 20 other students during a peaceful march at the university that was related to student elections due to be held that day, 19 April.

Last week Sudan Tribune reported opposition parties calling on Sudanese people “to take to streets to protest against the continued targeting of university students”.

Secretary general of the opposition National Umma Party, Sara Nugud Allah, said in a statement that Tambash’s funeral “must be turned into a spark to trigger the popular uprising to restore rights of the Sudanese people”, Sudan Tribune reported.

The opposition umbrella National Consensus Forces also called for an uprising, the publication wrote. “It urged leaders of political parties, lawyers, medical doctors and university professors to participate in the funeral, saying that Khartoum and the various states must become a ‘boiling cauldron beneath the feet of the tyrant’.”