Sudan imposes total curfew on Kassala after deadly clashes

Tribal violence in eastern city part of spike in crime across much of country

Sudanese authorities imposed a complete curfew in Kassala on Thursday, after at least two people were killed and several injured in clashes between tribal clans in the eastern city.

The lockdown will remain in force until further notice, the government of the city, near the border with Ethiopia, said in a statement.

While details of what triggered the clashes are not entirely clear, some accounts say a case of kidnapping led to the violence.

The city appeared calm on Thursday, with police and army troops patrolling the streets, some residents told The National.

Authorities in Sudan are struggling to cope with rising crime in addition to economic and political crises plaguing the ethnically and religiously diverse nation of 44 million Afro-Arab people.

The army and paramilitary forces in action across the country have been told to aid the police to avoid “recent security lapses”, military spokesman Brig-Gen Nabil Abdullah said in Khartoum on Wednesday.

The late announcement followed a meeting of the Defence and Security Council chaired by military leader Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan.

There has been a spike in violent crime and theft in Khartoum in recent weeks, residents said.

Deadly tribal violence in the western Darfur region, home of a devastating civil war in the early 2000s, has killed and injured scores of people in the last few months.

Lawlessness nationwide has increased after a military takeover about seven months ago that toppled a civilian-led government.

That administration, in partnership with the military, had taken power following the ousting in 2019 of dictator Omar Al Bashir.

The takeover by Gen Al Burhan sparked near-daily street protests that have killed nearly 100 people and injured more than 3,000.

The use of deadly violence by security forces has drawn strong condemnation from the West.

Earlier this week, the police acknowledged that one of its members killed a protester when he ran him over with his truck.

They also said they were investigating video footage of plainclothes men suspected to be members of the force training their rifles on protesters.

Government leaders, including Gen Al Burhan, have repeatedly said that investigations were under way to identify the perpetrators of the deadly force against unarmed protesters, as well as cases of sexual assault against female protesters.

However, there has been no word on the progress of the probes, despite repeated calls by western governments for transparent investigations and the prosecution of the culprits.

Updated: May 13, 2022, 8:50 AM