Freed opposition chief says Sudan government scared

Updated 17 December 2012
0

Freed opposition chief says Sudan government scared

KHARTOUM: The head of Sudan’s opposition political alliance, freed after two days in detention, said yesterday that the government fears rising popular discontent in the crisis-hit nation. Farouk Abu Issa, who represents more than 20 opposition parties, told AFP he was released on Saturday by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
“They are scared because the country is in a real crisis,” he said. “They are scared that I am head of the opposition, and they are scared that the opposition will move” into action.
Issa said he was held after giving a “fiery” speech in support of four dead Darfuri students. The deaths, following a crackdown on a tuition protest at Gezira University south of Khartoum, last week sparked the largest outpouring of Arab Spring-style discontent in Sudan since anti-regime protests in June and July.Issa blamed the deaths on Islamic militia.
“I accused them of killing these boys,” he said. But security agents who detained him made only brief reference to his speech, because no charges were ever brought against him or a proper questioning conducted, he said, adding that he was detained and then freed three times between Thursday and Saturday.
Each time he was left sitting in a chair for seven to 10 hours “without anyone talking to me or interrogating me,” he said.
“They asked me to come this morning and I refused,” he said. “I asked them, if they have a charge, to take me to court.”
Issa says his alliance, which includes all major parties except the ruling National Congress, favors peaceful change through strikes and demonstrations, yet he admitted such actions have been rare. “I think in the coming few weeks you will see more of them,” because although people are still afraid of the security forces the worsening economic situation will force them to speak out, he said.



“All the people of Sudan are against the regime,” Issa said. “The regime is isolated, and they are ruling this country through their security forces.”
In June and July, demonstrations began at the University of Khartoum over high inflation and then spread to involve scattered protests throughout the country, calling for the fall of President Omar Bashir’s 23-year government.
They petered out following a security clampdown.
Inflation has risen further to 45 percent in October, but the cash-starved government has rejected workers’ demands to raise the minimum wage to 425 pounds a month (around $65).
The deaths of the students, originally from the conflict-plagued Darfur region, led to protests last week by hundreds of people who called for “revolution.”
The Darfur Students Association has said the four went missing — and were later found dead — after taking part in a peaceful sit-in which was disrupted by the pro-government student union.
They were protesting for their “right” to free education, the association said.
University officials say the four students drowned.


Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

(Shutterstock image)
Updated 31 min 34 sec ago
0

Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

BESSEMER CITY, US: A man intentionally rammed a vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with a lunchtime crowd Sunday, killing his daughter and another person and injuring several others, authorities said Sunday.
Bessemer City Police said in a statement that preliminary evidence indicates the man purposely drove into the Surf and Turf Lodge about noon Sunday. Footage from the scene showed emergency crews treating people on the ground outside the restaurant as shocked patrons milled about afterward. Killed was 26-year-old Katelyn Tyler Self, the daughter of the driver and a Gaston County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Authorities haven’t released the name of the second person who died.
Police said the driver, Roger Self, was arrested after the car had smashed its way fully inside into the restaurant in Bessemer City, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Charlotte. Authorities did not immediately make clear what charges Self faces though authorities said they were opening a homicide investigation.
The Gaston Gazette identified Roger Self as a businessman from Dallas, North Carolina.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman Rob Tufano called the crash a “mass casualty” incident, and reports said some of the victims were flown by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center. There was no immediate report on the number of injured people or the severity of their injuries.
“He drove his car into the building, killing people, so that’s why we took him into custody immediately,” Bessemer City Police Chief Thomas Ellis Jr. said.
Photographs taken at the scene showed a shattered opening in a restaurant wall, where the car had smashed inside the building.
The Gaston Gazette reported that wait staff said Self had initially taken his family into the restaurant and had them seated. He then went back out to his vehicle and drove at a high rate of speed into the area where they were sitting, they said. The newspaper identified the vehicle as a sports utility vehicle.
Katelyn Self was a four-year veteran of the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Alan Cloninger told The Charlotte Observer. She worked as a corporal in the jail and was off duty when she was killed.
Cloninger choked up as he spoke about the crash.
“We’re suffering a little bit right now,” he said.
A 2017 profile in the Gazette said Roger Self ran a private investigations business called Southeastern Loss Management. It said the business opened in 1989 and mostly helped companies investigate employees’ wrongdoing.