September 28, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday issued a statement expressing concern over the violent clashes between Sudanese security and protestors who took to the streets in opposition of the government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies.
- United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
According to official figures, 31 people were killed in the unrest and hundreds were injured including policemen who moved to quell the protests that broke out since Monday in the Sudanese capital and other states in the country.
But opposition figures and activists counter the death toll to be at least in the 100’s and thousands of injuries.
Authorities have denied using live ammunition against protestors and accused infiltrators of carrying out the killings.
Sudan’s interior minister Ibrahim Mahmoud said on Friday that the police arrested more than 600 people during protests, adding that 100 individuals are investigated and they will appear before the courts next week.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash said in statements carried by official news agency (WAM) that his country has been following with interest the latest developments in Sudan "from the context of the historical relations that brings together the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of the Sudan".
Gargash said that the UAE is "deeply concerned" about the "violent and unjustified" dealings with these events and the impact it has on the Sudanese society.
The UAE official called on the Sudanese government "to demonstrate the maximum wisdom and caution in dealing with these demonstrations and popular demands that are marked by livelihood [economic] nature and emphasizes the need to secure the lives of civilians so as to maintain the stability of Sudanese state and society".
The rare comment by UAE on a domestic event n Sudan will likely add pressure on Khartoum to prevent the wave of protests from escalating. The oil-rich Arab Gulf state has generally maintained neutrality on Sudanese issues.
On Saturday, a number of senior ruling National Congress Party (NCP) officials including former presidential adviser Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani sent a memo to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir urging him to reverse the fuel subsidies decision and implement far reaching political and economic reforms.
The riots have lead to widespread damage to gas stations, public transportation buses and some police stations. Sudanese officials accused elements of the opposition and rebel groups of inciting the violence and sabotage operations.