Authorities have declared a three-day state of emergency and an 18:00 - 06:00 (local time) curfew in Kassala state as of Thursday, October 15, due to violent unrest in parts of the state. Unrest erupted following Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok's dismissal of Saleh Ammar, the governor of Kassala state, who was reportedly dismissed over his failure to handle recent inter-ethnic violence and protests.
Reports indicate that on Thursday eight people were killed, including a policeman, and 31 others injured in Kassala amid the unrest. Protests were also reported in the capital Khartoum and in Port Sudan (Red Sea state), where roads were blocked. Authorities in Port Sudan declared a 12:00 - 04:00 curfew on Thursday, although it is not clear how long this will remain in place for. The same curfew was imposed in Red Sea's Suakin.
Demonstrators are calling for, among other things, the dismissal of the prime minister and the return of Ammar to his position and have reportedly given the Sudanese government 72 hours to honor their demands.
Further unrest is to be anticipated in the coming days, and a heightened security presence is likely in the region. Disruptions should be anticipated in the vicinity of any protest and clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out. Curfews are likely to be extended if unrest continues.
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.
Those in Sudan are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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