26 June 2012

Sudan: Rebel Leader Says Sudanese 'Capable of Deposing' Bashir

Juba — Malik Agar, the leader of the Sudanese rebel alliance, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), on Tuesday said capabilities of the Sudanese people compounded by the growing networks seeking constitutional reforms and change will "depose" the Khartoum government.

"I do not doubt the capabilities of the Sudanese people to depose Bashir. They have demonstrated these capabilities in the past. They refused similar governments and removed them," Agar said on Tuesday during an interview with Sudan Tribune.

He explained that the government in Khartoum "does not value the life of the people."

Sudan is witnessing since some two weeks a growing protest movement in protest to soaring inflation, rising prices of food and other essential commodities and new austerity measures to make up for a huge budget deficit in Sudan.

Initially started by Khartoum University students, the demonstrations are taking place in different Sudanese towns despite detention and torture of protesters by the security services.

He countered news reports quoting Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir describing protests as "bubbles" limited to number of opposition supported members and networks of "disgruntled political leaders."

"The protests have spread to several places across the country. If you have been following recent events in the country, you find that over the last six days, ordinary citizens have joined the protests and demonstrations. They went out in major cities in the country. They came out in Madani, in Sinar, in Shendi, in Port Sudan, in El-Obeid in Alhasahisa and elsewhere. Because they need reform and change," Agar explained.

The SRF is a coalition between the rebel groups that fight Khartoum in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, including: Justice and Equality Movement (JEM); Sudan Liberation Movement/Army - Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW/SLA-AW); Sudan Liberation Movement/Army - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM/SLA-MM); and rebels from South Kordofan and Blue Nile States: Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM).

Agar said that members of opposition political parties joined the protests on June 22, after Friday prayers in Omdurman, Buri and Khartoum North.

As part of the government's efforts to address this deficit, a plan was announced in early June to lift fuel and sugar subsidies. At the same time, taxes were increased on other essential commodities. These measures have already started to negatively impact the population, particularly the poor.

The austerity package includes downsizing of the government's bureaucracy as well as cuts in the salaries and perks of senior state officials in order to make up for a budget deficit of US$2 billion.

Agar charged security forces of acting in collaboration with police of using excessive force to break up protests at universities throughout Sudan during protests in December 2011 and that, "this pattern has continued in the current protests."

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