Sudan tribal clashes leave 7 dead, 22 wounded

Sudanese demonstrators, from the Nuba mountains, take part in a demonstration in the capital Khartoum on May 1, 2019. Amid the political turmoil, Nuba and Bani Amer tribe members clashed in the eastern town of Gadaref, leaving seven people dead and 22 wounded over the past two days. (AFP photo)
Updated 13 May 2019
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Sudan tribal clashes leave 7 dead, 22 wounded

  • The violence erupted as members of two different tribes quarreled over the price of water
  • Army rulers and protesters are to hold fresh talks over handing power to a civilian administration

KHARTOUM: Clashes between members of two Sudanese tribes in an eastern town have left seven people dead and 22 wounded over the past two days, a local official told AFP Sunday.

The violence erupted on Saturday between members of the Nuba and Bani Amer tribes in the town of Gadaref, said Mohieddine Ahmed, governor of Gadaref province.

“It all started when a woman from the Nuba tribe and a water vendor from the Bani Amer tribe quarrelled over the price of water” on Saturday, Ahmed said.

“The verbal dispute ended with the vendor killing the woman, which triggered anger among her tribe members.” Members of the two groups then set fire to homes and shops belonging to each other’s kin, Ahmed added.

“In the ensuing clashes seven people have been killed and 22 wounded,” Ahmed said, adding that the two groups have clashed in the past. The wounded included seven policemen, he said, as officers sought to separate the groups with tear gas and by firing shots in the air. Ahmed said the fighting that erupted on Saturday continued until Sunday morning.

Tribal clashes are often reported in several regions of Sudan, especially in the war-torn western Darfur provinces.

 

Fresh talks

Sudan’s army rulers and protesters are to hold fresh talks over handing power to a civilian administration on Monday, a spokesman for the protest movement told AFP.

On Saturday, the Alliance for Freedom and Change — an umbrella for the protest movement — said the generals had invited it for a new round of talks after several days of deadlock.

“The meeting was planned for today but it has now been postponed to Monday,” alliance spokesman Rashid Al-Sayed said.

Sayed did not explain why the talks were postponed, but sources in the alliance said that more time was needed for consultations within the leadership.

The latest planned round of talks come as thousands of protesters remain camped outside army headquarters in central Khartoum. They say they are determined to force the ruling military council to cede power — just as they pushed the military into deposing veteran President Omar Al-Bashir on April 11.

The army generals and protesters are at loggerheads over who will sit on a new ruling body that would replace the existing military council.

The generals have proposed that the new council be military led, while the protest leaders want a majority civilian body.

Late last month, the alliance — which brings together protest organizers, opposition parties and rebel groups — handed the generals its proposals for a civilian-led transitional government.

But the generals have pointed to what they call “many reservations” over the alliance’s roadmap.

They have singled out its silence on the constitutional position of sharia law, which was the guiding principle of all legislation under Bashir’s rule but is anathema to secular groups like the Sudanese Communist Party and some rebel factions in the alliance.

“We want to hold the talks quickly and sort out all these points in 72 hours,” the alliance said on Saturday.

Sudan, an ethnically diverse country, has been rocked by nationwide protests since December.

Thousands of protesters still remain camped outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum, calling on the army generals who deposed Bashir to hand power over to civilians.


Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

Updated 58 min 37 sec ago
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Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

  • Actress and singer Zuhal Olcay was charged with insulting Erdogan using hand gestures at a concert in Istanbul in 2016
  • Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence, originally imposed last year but suspended

ANKARA: Accusations of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may lead to a jail sentence — even if the “insult” is in private, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence on actress and singer Zuhal Olcay, 61, after a complaint that she had changed lyrics of songs and used hand gestures to insult the president at a concert in Istanbul in 2016.

The revised lyrics said: “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie. Life will end one day and you’ll say ‘I had a dream’.” Olcay said she had changed the lyrics only because the president’s name fitted the rhyme.

The court confirmed a sentence originally imposed last year, which had been suspended. The singer is expected to spend up to three days in prison, before being released on probation.

“This case highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres.”

Louis Fishman Academic

“Zuhal Olcay is an artist with great stature, and this case shows that no one is out of reach of a judiciary that increasingly has little independence from the government,” Louis Fishman, an assistant professor at City University of New York, told Arab News.

“The message is clear; artists in Turkey should be silent or face legal consequences that can be drawn out for years and eventually lead to prison,” said Fishman, an expert on Turkey.

He said it was significant that the hand gesture at the center of the case had happened at a private concert, and the prosecution began only after it was reported to police by someone in the audience.

“Therefore, this case also highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres,” he said. 

“In other words, there is a growing fear in Turkey of criticizing, or ‘defaming’ Erdogan, not only in public, but also in private. In both cases, vigilant citizens can report such alleged cases to the police.”