More civilian deaths, louder calls for dialogue in Sudan

The higher education community in Sudan, including several universities, their academics and students, has taken a stand as part of a pro-democracy movement to call for an end to the war in the country and for humanitarian support for citizens affected by the military clashes between the national army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, that erupted on 15 April.

The death toll in Sudan stands at about 420, including about 260 civilians.

In a joint statement signed by 35 pro-democracy organisations, they say: “We agree to work to stop the war immediately, silence the sound of guns, and provide urgent humanitarian, health, service and environmental needs for citizens and affected areas.

“We also agree to work to remove the military from economic and political life, work military reform that leads to a unified professional army as well as restore the democratic civil transitional process.

“We also agree on working to confront biased rhetoric on ethnic, tribal, regional or religious grounds, resisting hate speech and promoting the values of common citizenship and peaceful coexistence.

“A coordination mechanism that includes representatives of all the signatory parties will be formed in order to achieve these goals through all available peaceful means.”

The group consists of the University of Khartoum, the Al-Neelain University Teaching Staff Trade Union, the University of Nyala teaching staff association, the University of Khartoum alumni conference, the Khartoum University engineering association, the Alliance of Professors of Universities of Science and Technology, the Alliance of Professionals and Professors of Imam al-Mahdi University, the Democratic Association of Sudanese Universities and Higher Institutes’ Professors, the Alliance of Student Movements, the Forces for Freedom and Change, an overarching alliance of activists and opposition groups, including university staff, and the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, an umbrella group of independent professional unions, including doctors, engineers, teachers and lawyers, as well as the Association of Sudanese Professors at Universities, Faculties and Higher Institutes.

Casualties

The higher education community, as a part of civil society, has continued to report the deaths of staff and students as a result of the conflict.

Sudan University of Science and Technology (SUST) announced the death of Musab Abd El-Samea Khair, a student at the faculty of commercial studies and Mohamed Salah Al-Din Mohamed Hasib, as a result of the recent military clashes.

SUST indicated that the residence of the university’s professors was hit by shelling, but no injuries were reported.

Another casualty was 23-year-old Saber Nasr El-Din, an Egyptian student from Assiute governorate who was studying dentistry at the private Sudan International University in Khartoum. A diabetic, Nasr El-Din was unable to obtain an insulin dose at a pharmacy or hospital.

A hashtag, #Transferring the body of Saber Nasr Al-Din to Egypt, called upon the Egyptian government to help with his burial in his homeland but, on 24 April, after efforts to secure a safe passage to Egypt failed, he was buried in Sudan.

Mahmoud Atef Mahmoud Tantawy, a fourth-year dentistry student at Nile University in Sudan, was paralysed after he was hit by shrapnel in his back. A video clip shows students at a hospital in Sudan.

Out of 79 hospitals in the capital, Khartoum, and the states adjacent to the areas of armed conflict, 55 hospitals have suspended their services (69% of Sudanese hospitals are out of service), including most of the teaching hospitals, according to a 24 April field report issued by a committee of the Sudan Doctors Trade Union (CSDTU).

The CSDTU also issued a statement on 24 April saying that Dr Muhammad Al-Hadi Issa Obaid, a graduate of the faculty of medicine at Al Fashir University, has been missing since 20 April.

In addition, CSDTU announced on 25 April that Dr Bushra Ibn Auf, an internal medicine and gastroenterology consultant at the University of Khartoum, died after a stabbing attack that is related to the deteriorating security and safety situation in the country, which, in turn is emanating from the war.

Also, Al-Neelain University issued a statement on 23 April announcing the death of Dr Hassan Hamad Abu Al-Hassan, a staff member of the faculty of science and technology, in a traffic accident on Khartoum road, also believed to be related to the instability.

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