Sudan's protest 'the deadliest in years'
26 September 2013, 17:45
Khartoum - At least 29 people have been killed in protests
in Khartoum over fuel subsidy cuts, a medical source said on Thursday, making
it the deadliest outbreak of unrest in Sudan's capital in years.
Thousands of protesters torched cars and petrol stations in
central areas of the capital on Wednesday, sending thick plumes of black smoke
into the air. Internet access went down across the country, although the cause
was not immediately clear.
Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, has avoided the
mass unrest that unseated rulers in Arab countries like Egypt and Tunisia, but
anger has been rising over inflation and corruption.
Relatives and medics said at least six people were killed in
Wednesday's protests, but a medical source at a hospital in Khartoum's Omdurman
neighbourhood said 27 bodies had arrived at that hospital during the riots.
"There were 27 people killed in the protests and their
bodies are at the Omdurman hospital," the source said, asking not to be
The Arab-African country has suffered from armed
insurgencies in its poor peripheral regions for decades, but the wealthier
central areas along the Nile including Khartoum are usually relatively isolated
Similar protests broke out in June last year after some fuel
subsidies were cut, but they fizzled after a security crackdown. This round of
unrest started on Monday after the government announced another set of cuts to
The secession of oil-producing South Sudan in 2011 hurt
Sudan's economy, depriving it of about three-quarters of the crude production
it relied on for state revenues and foreign currency used to import food.
Despite an outstanding warrant for his arrest from the
International Criminal Court, Bashir said on Sunday he planned to attend the UN
General Assembly and had booked a hotel in New York.
But a UN official told Reuters by email Bashir would not be
coming to New York, giving no further details.
Washington has led calls for Bashir to face international
justice over bloodshed in the now decade-old conflict in Sudan's Darfur region
and the US ambassador to the UN had previously called Bashir's intention to
travel to New York "deplorable".