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Sudan: South Darfur State witness protests against new governor

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January 24, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Protests erupted on Tuesday in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur State, as its newly appointed governor arrived to assume his duties.

Photo of Tuesday’s protest in Nyala against the new governor (ST)

Eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune that the protestors were demonstrating against the appointment of the new state governor Hamad Ismail.

Ismail was appointed to the position by Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir as part of his 10 January decrees that saw the three states in the western region of Darfur being increased to five and some governors reshuffled.

The changes in the region’s administrative makeup are part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed between the Sudanese government and the ex-rebel group Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in a bid to end the eight-year conflict in the region.

Ismail’s predecessor, Abdel Hamid Kasha, was removed from his position and given the position of the governor of the newly-created state of East Darfur, but the latter refused to accept his post, citing unhappiness with the decision to remove him.

Tuesday’s protests in Nyala erupted as Ismail, flanked by the former governor Kasha, arrived in the town amid tight security presence.

According to eye witnesses, the demonstrators toured the town chanting slogans refusing to recognize the new governor and calling on Al-Bashir to reinstate Kasha.

Police forces intervened to contain the protests as they developed into rioting incidents involving many shops in Nyala downtown market being looted.

Members of the police fired teargas and bullets in the air to break up the demonstrators. They also arrested a number of protestors.

The chief of police in Nyala, Taha Jalal, said his forces had responded to “marauding groups” which tried to undermine security by throwing stones at the people who gathered to receive the new governor. He further said that the police had managed to contain the situation in a short time and without any casualties.

Meanwhile, the vice-president of the ruling National Congress Party, Nafie Ali Nafie, has downplayed the protests, telling reporters in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday that the demonstrations do not reflect any level of unpopularity of the new governor.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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