7 December 2012

Sudan: Three Students Killed Over University Tuition

Photo: Al Jazeera
Protesting (file photo).

Khartoum — Three students of Al-Jazeera University in central Sudan were murdered after their arrest by security agent after a protest by Darfurians on the ground of exemption from tuition fees.

The victims were among six students of the first and second year arrested by the security service on Tuesday 4 December after a peaceful protest inside the university to protest the administration's refusal to exempt Darfurian from university tuition fees in line with the peace agreements.

Their bodies were found on Friday morning in a waterway near the buildings of Al-Jazeera University in Wad Madani, Al-Jazeera state. The three other student are still missing .

The exemption from tuition fees was first included in Abuja peace agreement signed with the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) in May 2006 but the agreement did not define who is the Darfurian student benefiting from the measure.

Since, the exemption is implemented differently from a university to another, according to the administrative discretion of the university. It also cause regular disputes with Darfur students who apply to benefit from this positive action.

Some universities say it is only applicable to those who benefit from a government scholarship but not the others who are the majority of Darfurian students.

According to Girifna, a Sudanese youth group, all the six student were from the first year except one from the second year. They were arrested following clashes with the students members of the ruling National Congress Party on Tuesday.

Eyewitnesses say signs of torture were visible on the three bodies.

Two rebel groups from Darfur region condemned the murder of the three students and stressed that they were protesting peacefully demanding to benefit from this special regime dedicated to Darfurians.

Abdallah Mursdal, SLM- MM spokesperson, wondered what crime they committed to be killed and to throw their bodies in a canal. He stressed that "they demand their rights acquired through the signed agreement", and "they expressed their demand in democratic and peaceful ways within the campus".

Gibreel Adam Bilal, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) spokesperson, said perpetrators of these crimes will not be forgiven and they remain accountable of the murder of innocent students. He added that the "director of Al-Jazeera University and the director security service" in the state should be held responsible of their death.

Al-Jazeera state authorities did not comment on the incident.

The bodies of the three students will be buried on Sunday after the arrival of their families.

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