17 June 2018

Sudan: Northern Youth Committee to Continue Protests Against New Dams

Khartoum — The Sudanese Youth Committee Against the Kajbar and Dal Dams has renewed its demand for an investigation into the killing of four peaceful protesters against the construction of the Kajbar Dam in northern Sudan in 2007.

On the occasion of the 11th anniversary of "the massacre", the Youth Committee reported that the people of the region are determined to continue their legal efforts, in cooperation with local and international activists, to bring the killers to justice.

Mohamed Salah, chairman of the Youth Committee, accused Khartoum of procrastination concerning "the prosecution of the criminals, who shot with live bullets on peaceful protesters".

He told Radio Dabanga that the arrangements for the commemoration of the 11th anniversary of the "Kajbar massacre" in the region in the coming days.

In June 2007, security forces killed four and injured at least 19 people near Sebo in northern Sudan. The people protested peacefully against the planned construction of the Kajbar Dam at the Nile's Third Cataract.

'A dam against the dams'

The chairman downplayed the importance of repeated statements by First Vice-President Bakri Hasan Saleh that the construction of the Kajbar and Dal Dams will start next year.

"The government has occasionally issued statements about the building of the dams without actually starting," he commented.

"The Nubians in northern Sudan will continue to oppose the construction of the dams because of its dangerous environmental consequences," Salah added. "We will build a dam to stop the attempts to build the dams."

Protests against new dams in northern Sudan intensified after Saudi Arabia agreed to finance the construction of the two dams on November 3, 2015.

On February 17 the next year, during the signing of the agreement in Khartoum, security forces dispersed a large group of anti-dam protesters by force. "They were extremely violent," a demonstrator told this station at the time.

Many opposition forces voiced their support to the Nubian campaign against the dams.

Nubian heritage

The Association of Nubians living in northern Sudan warned that the construction of the two dams will wipe out more than 7,000 years of Nubian civilisation.

In a public debate at the University of Khartoum on 11 November 2015, members of the Youth Committee stressed that they are ready to give their lives for the survival of the Nubian heritage. "The dams will only be constructed on our dead bodies."

According to International Rivers, the Sudanese government plans to transform the Nile, "the only stretch of fertile land north of Khartoum", into a string of water reservoirs.

The Merowe Dam, at the fourth cataract, was completed in 2009. The project doubled Sudan's electricity generation, but displaced more than 50,000 people from the Nile Valley to arid desert locations. Protests were violently suppressed.

The planned Kajbar Dam on the Nile's third cataract will create a reservoir of 110 square km, and generate 360 megawatts of electricity. The project is expected displace more than 10,000 people and submerge an estimated 500 archaeological sites. The Dal Dam on the second cataract would have a capacity of 340-450 megawatts, and would displace 5,000-10,000 people.

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