At least seven people were reportedly killed in Kassala on Thursday, October 15, as protests against the dismissal of Kassala State Governor Salih Amar continued for a second day. Unidentified gunmen and security forces used tear gas and opened fire into the crowd as demonstrators, some of them allegedly armed, ignored warnings and approached government buildings. A further 30 people were injured during the incident. The government has stated that it is working to end the crisis.
Further protests are likely in Kassala. A heightened security presence and associated disruptions are to be anticipated over the near term. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Sudan's transitional government has continued long-running peace talks since the overthrow of former president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 to resolve the various disputes which have long fed instability and conflict in multiple areas of the country. Following an initial peace plan in August, a comprehensive agreement was signed in Juba on Saturday, October 3, between the government and representatives of many of the country's rebel movements under the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) coalition. However, several groups, including the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdul Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) faction, refused to back the deal, whilst activists in the east claimed that the deal did not address the concerns of local communities in the region. Although eastern-based groups were involved in the peace process, these were predominantly drawn from the Beni Amer tribe rather than the local Beja community.
Tribal and political tensions have been increasing in areas in the east of the country since the coup which toppled Bashir, leading to several outbreaks of violent unrest. Much of the violence has been linked to clashes between the eastern region's Beni Amer, Beja, and Nuba communities over water resources, which have seen dozens of people killed in Port Sudan and other cities. However, the country's long-running economic crisis and deteriorating living conditions have significantly contributed to the escalating tensions.
Individuals present in the affected area are advised to monitor local developments, maintain a high degree of situational awareness, and remain vigilant for potential clashes.
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