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Sudan defends decision to form university police force

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August 31, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Higher Education Minister, Sumaya Abu Kosha, defended on Wednesday a decision to establish a special police department to protect the universities and its campuses, stressing this step does not mean excessive use of force.

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Anti-riot police uses water cannon to disperse student protesting outside Khartoum university on April 26, 2016 (ST Photo)

Following the death of two students in politically motivated violence in the Sudanese universities across the country last April, the Ministry of Interior announced the establishment of university police units.

The university police force will be composed of 760 police officers who will begin their activities next September when the studies resume.

However human rights groups and activists expressed concern after recent statements by the Chair of University of Khartoum’s Council, the governing body, stating that university police officers will be constituted of rough and strong officers empowered to open fire.

The recent decisions to "form a special police (department) to protect the universities does not mean excessive use of force, otherwise it will be useless," said Minister Abu Kosha.

She further called to not pre-judge the new police force before to experience it.

"Do not put in the corner and shoot it," she stressed.

The gouvernement and education officials accused students supporting armed opposition groups of introducing weapons into the universities, saying the rebels are now exporting the violence to the academic institutions.

Lawmakers of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) proposed to ban political activities of the supporters of armed groups inside the universities.

Student opposition groups also accuse NCP supporters of using arms inside the university campuses.

Two students were killed in April 2016 in student clashes inside the Sudanese universities in Khartoum and North Kordofan.

(ST)

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