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Sudan’s president due in Kassala amid protests

October 25, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his Eritrean counterpart, Isaias Afewerki will today inaugurate a road linking their neighboring countries in the presence of the Qatari Emir Hamad Bin-Khalifah al-Thani.

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Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki (L) and President Al-Bashir (R) (FILE)

The trio is due to meet in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala where they will hold a summit and inaugurate a number of development projects.

According to Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA), Al-Bashir and his guests will inaugurate a road linking Kassala with the Al-Laffah border area of Eritrea.

SUNA reported that the 26 kilometers road was financed by Qatar at a cost of $9 million.

The minister of culture and tourism in Kassala, Amira Musa, said that Bashir would also inaugurate a housing complex comprising of 1400 units.

Last week, Afewerki visited the Sudanese capital Khartoum for three days during which he discussed bilateral issues with Al-Bashir.

Afewerki’s visit came following reports of tension along the shared borders and UN condemnation of Khartoum for deporting Eritrean refugees.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday demanded that Sudan halts mass deportation of Eritrean refugees, saying Khartoum had handed over 300 Eritreans to the Eritrean military without screening them for refugee status.

Tension in Kassala

Al-Bashir’s visit to Kassala coincides with a wave of intermittent student protests that has been sweeping the eastern town since October 18.

Grifina Movement, an anti-government youth group, reported that university students in Kassala held a number of protests against ’academic, economic and political situation in the country.’

According to the group, the protests were met with ’excessive violence’ by the authorities, saying that eight students were ’critically injured’ when they were run over by a security car.

There was no official comment by Sudanese authorities.

Sudan has been witnessing a growing number of small protests in recent months against rising food prices and deteriorating public services.

(ST)