KHARTOUM - At least six people were killed and more than 50 others were injured after a peaceful protest turned violent in the city of Port Sudan Sunday night, said local residents. Authorities in eastern Sudan, where the area is located, imposed a 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew to prevent further violence.
Fighting broke out when young men from the Beni Amir, an ethnic group, clashed with Nuba, another ethnic group, in the Hai Philip neighborhood, according to Port Sudan residents. Port Sudan is the capital of Red Sea state and Sudan’s main port city.
A group of Nuba youths organized the protest Sunday over the recent appointment of Hamid al-Bashir as governor of a nearby state. The trouble started when the group began to march through the neighborhood where the Beni Amir predominantly reside, said Port Sudan resident Ibtisam Mohammed Saleh.
“Some of them were carrying arms and they started shooting and two people died on the spot, including one soldier. The army then came and started firing live bullets randomly, injuring eight people from Beni Amir,” Saleh told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus program.
Red Sea state Governor Abdallah Shangrai Ohaj said at a Sunday evening news conference he authorized security forces to arrest individuals who took part in the fighting.
“Based on directives of the prosecutor in charge, we hereby instruct all security forces to arrest anybody found involved in this violence, open a police case against them and put them in custody,” said Ohaj.
Local journalist Abdurrahman Bakash told South Sudan in Focus Monday the curfew is helping to calm the situation in Port Sudan.
“There is a huge deployment of joint security forces in the town and there were no further clashes reported today. But what we don’t know is if this will continue like this or further escalation of violence would be seen,” said Bakash.
All shopping centers and public and private offices remained closed Monday.
“We could not go to our work today. The situation is tense and we don’t know what is going to happen next,” Bakash told VOA.
More than 30 people were killed in Port Sudan when similar inter-communal clashes broke out between Beni Amir and Nuba communities in September 2019.