Sudan: Army Officers Harass Activists in Blue Nile State

ED Damazin — Members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) briefly detained a number of activists in Blue Nile state twice on Friday.

The Sudanese Human Rights and Development Organisation (HUDO) reported on Monday that army officers held five people returning to the state capital of Ed Damazin after attending a socio-political event in Masfa village.

The Masfa Youth Association organised a "cultural day on the peace agreement" in the village on Friday. The event was attended by senior state officials from Ed Damazin.

Dr Hasan Hamza, one of the speakers invited, said in his speech that basic education should be free of charge, in order to reduce the high drop-out rates resulting from poverty.

As their parents are no able to pay school fees and in many cases even their meals, the uneducated youth are forced to join the military or become labourers at agricultural schemes, he said.

When Dr Hamza was on his way back to the Blue Nile state capital, accompanied by Abdallah Mahjoub, Deputy director of Bau locality, Mujahed Mustafa, Blue Nile satellite TV photographer, the four men and driver Ali Eisa were intercepted by SAF soldiers and taken to Lt Abubakir Hasan who questioned Hamza and accused him inciting hatred against the military.

The others were insulted and threatened to be tied. They were all released after one hour and resumed their journey back to the state capital. They however were obstructed again and taken to a higher-ranking officer, who once again questioned Hamza about this speech.

After more than one hour, they were released again under pressure from the deputy director of Bau locality, the HUDO statement reads.

On Sunday, the National Network for Social Justice criticised the "outrageous behaviour" of a unit of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police (Abu Teira) in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, that raided a house in the city on Saturday, and arbitrarily detained several young activists.

The Sudanese NGO called on the Red Sea state police to better control their units and act according to the law.

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