Sudan: Close Down Trigger-Happy Paramilitary Force in Sudan, Not Schools - Amnesty International

Students protest in El Mujlad in West Kordofan.

London — The Sudanese authorities should remove the Rapid Support Forces, Khartoum's main government militia, from all law enforcement activities across the country instead of closing school, says Amnesty International.

"The decision to close schools underlines the failure of the Sudanese authorities to contain or direct the Rapid Support Forces, who have time and again used firearms on peaceful protestors across Sudan," Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Closing schools and preventing children from receiving an education is misguided and unfair - pupils should not be punished because of the actions of an out-of-control paramilitary unit."

Six people, including four secondary school students, were shot dead, when they were demonstrating against bread and fuel shortages in the North Kordofan capital of El Obeid, on Monday. In response, thousands of people, in particularly school students took to the streets in various towns in the country to protest against the violence.

The ruling Transitional Military Council reacted on Wednesday morning by ordering the closure of basic and secondary schools throughout Sudan for an indefinite period of time - possibly until after Eid El Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), in mid-August.

"Closing schools and preventing children from receiving an education is misguided and unfair - pupils should not be punished because of the actions of an out-of-control paramilitary unit." - Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

Following the directive to suspend classes, "barely a month into a new school term", Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki commented: "It's astonishing that the authorities in Sudan are attempting to deal with the recurring issue of armed officers using lethal force against protesters in this way."

"This bloodshed must stop. The Rapid Support Forces must be removed from all law enforcement activities across Sudan, and those responsible for committing the killings -and giving the orders- should be brought to justice," she said.

"The decision to close schools underlines the failure of the Sudanese authorities to contain or direct the Rapid Support Forces, who have time and again used firearms on peaceful protestors across Sudan."

Unicef in Sudan said in a statement on July 30 that "No child should be buried in their school uniform".

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