Sudan’s Bashir vows rural development as new protests loom

Sudanese protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against President Omar al-Bashir in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman on January 29, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 03 February 2019
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Sudan’s Bashir vows rural development as new protests loom

  • The veteran leader has been on a charm offensive with rallies across the country in a bid to head off weeks of protests
  • Demonstrations erupted in Sudan in December after a government decision to triple the price of bread

KHARTOUM: Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir on Sunday pledged to bolster rural development, as he seeks to face down anti-government demonstrations that have rocked cities and villages.
The veteran leader has been on a charm offensive with rallies across the country in a bid to head off weeks of protests seen as the biggest threat to his 30-year rule.
Addressing hundreds of villagers in North Kordofan state at a televised event he promised to bring clean drinking water to rural areas “across Sudan” and open a new hospital in the region.
The speech came after he inaugurated a new 340-kilometer (210 miles) highway linking North Kordofan to Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum.
“Building such a road in present economic conditions is not an easy thing to achieve,” said Bashir, after being escorted to the stage by dozens of men on camels.
“Along this road we will bring electricity to boost the region’s growth.”
Demonstrations erupted in Sudan in December after a government decision to triple the price of bread unleashed frustrations at years of deteriorating living conditions and growing hardship.
Officials say 30 people have died in protest-related violence, while rights group Human Rights Watch says at least 51 have been killed.
Bashir’s attempts to rally support have so far failed to halt the wave of discontent, with the group leading the demonstrations calling for fresh protests over the next few days starting Sunday night.
Bashir and other senior Sudanese officials have repeatedly said that the government can be changed only through elections.
The leader, who came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, is considering running for a third elected presidential term in polls due next year.


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 25 min 45 sec ago
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Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.