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Khartoum governor accuses opposition of fueling recent protests in Om Doum

May 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The governor of Khartoum state, Abdulrahman al-Khidir, has accused opposition forces of exploiting demands of residents and driving a wedge between them and the police forces during recent protests which took place at Om Doum neighborhood in east Khartoum.

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Abdel-Rahman al-Khidir (file photo)

Late last month, hundreds of Om Doum residents staged demonstrations, blockading the main street and setting tires on fire to express fury against what they say are government plans to give away part of their lands to a Saudi investor.

The protestors blocked the main road of Om Doum outside the capital Khartoum prompting Sudanese police to intervene and using tear gas and batons to break up the protests leading to scores of injuries.

A teenager named Mohamed Abdel-Bagi was killed in the aftermath. Sudan police said in a statement last week that Abdel-Bagi died as a result of injuries he sustained during the clashes but denied that it was a result of bullet wounds.

The governor stressed that his state is open for dialogue and negotiation on all land disputes, calling upon residents who believe that they have similar cases to resort to legal means.

However he warned that the state will not succumb to pressure as a result of people taking to the streets unless there is a "just cause". He accused opposition of rallying non- Om Doum people in these protests.

Al-Khidir disclosed that there was already a committee that was getting ready to review the case of Om Doum until the protests erupted and stalled its work.

Like in other African countries, Gulf Arab investors have been investing into farmland in Sudan, which struggles with an economic crisis, to secure food supplies. Critics say some investors take advantage of poor countries and farmers.

(ST)