Curfew lifted in Khartoum

Sudanese authorities have lifted a curfew imposed two weeks ago to stop the capital’s worst violence in decades, which killed at least 111 people.

Normalcy is returning to Sudan's capital after riots
Normalcy is returning to Sudan's capital after riots

“We have lifted the curfew,” an Interior Ministry official said. “There will be no checkpoints, but the forces will still be out on the streets.”

News of the sudden death of former southern rebel leader and newly sworn-in first vice-president John Garang two weeks ago sparked riots in Khartoum’s central commercial streets and suburbs.

Tit-for-tat violence followed, polarising the capital’s northern and southern communities. But Khartoum has remained largely peaceful over the past week.

Garang signed a peace deal in January that ended Africa’s longest civil war in Sudan’s south and outlined a new coalition government, wealth sharing, democratic transformation and a southern referendum on secession from the north within six years.

He was first vice-president for three weeks before being killed in a helicopter crash in southern Sudan. His former
deputy and successor, Salva Kiir, took up the post last week.

Darfur floods

About 13,000 refugees have been made homeless by floods in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, in the worst rains for half a century, a government official said on Monday. 

“There will be no checkpoints, but the forces will still be out on the streets”

Interior Ministry statement

El-Fatih Abdel Aziz, the government’s manager of Abu Shouk camp in North Darfur, told Reuters the heaviest rains in decades had damaged a dam built to prevent flooding in the camp next to the state’s main town, al-Fashir.

“This dam … was damaged because of the heavy rain at night, and after that half of the camp was flooded,” he said from Darfur. “The government intervened and gave every family blankets and corn.”

He added that non-governmental organisations working in the camp were to meet to decide whether to transfer the 13,000 displaced to another camp. Abu Shouk, just outside al-Fashir, houses about 50,000 Darfuris.

About 2 million Darfuris fled to makeshift camps in the remote region during more than 2-1/2 years of rebellion by non-Arab rebels against the Islamist central government.

International court

Tens of thousands have been killed in the violence, and the International Criminal Court is investigating alleged war crimes committed during the uprising.

The rebels accuse the Arab-dominated Khartoum government of neglect and of arming Arab militias that are accused of a widespread campaign of rape, looting and burning of non-Arab villages.

The conflict has been aggravated by competing herders and farmers over scarce resources due to desertification.

Abdel Aziz said the last time it rained so heavily in Darfur was more than 50 years ago. Last year, aid agencies were worried because the lack of rain meant much of the harvest in Darfur was lost.

“In one night we had 132 millimetres of rain … in the whole of last year we had 106 millimetres,” he said. “It is impossible for a town like al-Fashir to absorb this water.”

He added that about 2000 families were also homeless in the town.

Source : Reuters

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