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Sudan shuts down English-language teaching center in Khartoum

March 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities on Monday raided the Aslan center in Khartoum which specialises in teaching English as a second language and informed its managers that they are shutting it down.

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Security officers came to the center in three vehicles to implement the decision, which also incorporated seizing its belongings.

Students enrolled in the English language courses were also notified that the program has been suspended.

An official with Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) told Sudan Tribune that the center is engaged in "suspicious" activities.

"This center is suspicious and runs hostile acts against the government. It is closed and will not resume its activities anytime soon," said the official who asked not to be identified.

Around 500 students enrol annually in the courses offered by Aslan center. It offered substantial fee discount as well as scholarship making it a popular spot for prospective English learners.

In recent months Sudanese authorities shut down multiple NGO’s and pro-democracy centers including Al-Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE) and the Sudanese Studies Center (SSC).

Khartoum accused these centers of receiving foreign money to instigate regime change and push for widespread demonstrations.

However, no charges have been made officially against anyone in connection with these centers.

The 23-year rule of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has come under increased pressure since the secession of the oil-rich South Sudan which has embroiled the country in a deep economic crisis.

There has also been growing discontent within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) with many of its base calling for reforms within the government and the party but observers say that the old guard is resisting any change.

Last November the government said it thwarted a coup attempt led by several pro-government elements, including former spy chief Salah Gosh.

(ST)