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Rebels were behind recent protests in Sudan, says Bashir

October 21, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir said the demonstrators who protested against the lift of subsidies last month were mainly members rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states .

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Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) leaves Khartoum airport after attending a welcome ceremony with his South Sudanese counterpart on September 3, 2013 (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)

"We were surprised by some organised saboteurs, who mostly belong to armed groups in Darfur and other areas. They were waiting for the opportunity (lift of subsidies) to move (against the regime). Even ordinary citizens were surprised by the large-scale subversive actions", Bashir told the Saudi newspaper Okaz in an interview released on Monday.

The Sudanese president said they were expecting some "normal" demonstrations against the rise of prices adding that precautionary measures to deal with the peaceful protest had been taken.

"But when we realised that the (demonstrations) evolved into an act of sabotage and destruction, Plan B was applied and equipped troops were deployed to deal with the riots" because the protests had been transformed to acts of vandalism and destruction of facilities, he stressed.

Amnesty International and activists say over 200 protesters were killed in less than a week by antiriot police and security agents in plain clothes. More than 600 protesters were detained and many of them are still in jail awaiting trial.

Analysts agree that September demonstration were the biggest popular protests against the regime of president Omer Al Bashir who rules the country since 24 years following a coup d’état in June 1989.

They also underline the spontaneous character of the demonstrations, pointing that some youth groups were involved in the protests but no opposition or rebel groups were behind.

However they explain the violence against protesters by the regime’s fears that rebels may seek to control new areas or attack Khartoum if the government is destabilised by the popular protests.

They also say that the regime, as always did, seeks every time to deter popular protests by speaking about rebel groups from Darfur and Nuba Mountains suggesting that they may attack civilians in the capital and central Sudan regions.

Bashir said his government took economic arrangements aiming to direct economic support and assistance to the poor segments of the society and to stop the subsidies which benefit to the all population including middle class and wealthy people.

(ST)