Sudan: Port Closure Leads to Shortage of Essential Medicine, Fuel, Wheat

5 October 2021

Cape Town — The Sudanese government has announced that the country is about to run out of essential medicine, fuel, and wheat after political protests forced the closure of Port Sudan.

According to Reuters, members of the Beja tribe blocked roads and forced Red Sea ports to close, in what they say is the region's lack of political power and poor economic conditions.

In a statement,  the cabinet acknowledged eastern Sudan's "just cause" and stressed the right to peaceful protest, but warned that the closure of Port Sudan and highways connecting the east with the rest of the country was "harming the interests of all Sudanese".

The protesters last month closed two main oil pipelines, including the only one transporting fuel to the capital Khartoum. On September 26, demonstrators agree to allow the resumption of exports of landlocked South Sudan's crude oil via a terminal on the Red Sea, reports Al-Jazeera.

The Ministry of Transport has reported that the closure of the port has already cost the Sudanese treasury "large sums" and the blockades "may lead to the disruption of several procedures". The ministry said in a press statement that protesters did allow the passage of American wheat carriers at the port and roads.

The protest actions have led to the filing of a lawsuit against the Beja nazirs, whose leaders are accused of undermining civil state authority, threatening the transitional period, inciting hatred, violence, and tribalism, and sabotaging the national economy.

Sudan is governed by a joint civilian-military sovereign ruling council that was formed months after the ouster of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. It serves alongside a transitional government, headed by civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. In October 2020, the transitional government signed a peace agreement with several militant groups. In response, the east Sudan protesters from the Beja minority have said that the deal with militants from the Darfur region, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan states, ignored their interests.

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