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

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.


Turkey’s rulers plot law changes to block breakaway parties’ power grab

Updated 28 May 2020

Turkey’s rulers plot law changes to block breakaway parties’ power grab

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP is working on a plan to stop parliamentary deputies from transferring to other parties

ANKARA: Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is looking at ways to change electoral laws in order to block challenges to power from two new breakaway political parties.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP and its nationalist coalition partner the MHP are working on a plan to stop parliamentary deputies from transferring to other parties — a move that has fueled rumors of an imminent snap election in the country.

Under Turkish election rules, political parties must settle their organization procedures in at least half of the nation’s cities and hold their first convention six months ahead of an election date.

Any political party with 20 lawmakers in Turkey’s parliament is entitled to take part in elections and be eligible for financial aid from the treasury for the electoral process.

The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has hinted at the possibility of transferring some CHP lawmakers to the newly founded parties to secure their participation in elections.

Turkey’s ex-premier, Ahmet Davutoglu, and the country’s former economy czar, Ali Babacan, both longtime allies of Erdogan, recently left the AKP to establish their own opposition groups, and have come under pressure from the AKP and MHP to leave their parties out of the race.

Babacan has been critical of Erdogan’s move away from a parliamentary system of governance in Turkey to one providing the president with wide-ranging powers without any strong checks and balances.

“The AKP is abolishing what it built with its own hands. The reputation and the economy of the country is in ruins. The number of competent people has declined in the ruling party. Decisions are being taken without consultations and inside a family,” Babacan said in a recent interview.

He also claimed that AKP officials were competing against each other for personal financial gain.

Babacan, a founding member of the AKP, was highly respected among foreign investors during his time running the economy. He resigned from the party last year over “deep differences” to set up his DEVA grouping on March 9 with a diverse team of former AKP officials and liberal figures.

Berk Esen, a political analyst from Ankara’s Bilkent University, believes Babacan’s recent statements have angered Erdogan.

“As a technocrat, Babacan gains respect from secular circles as well as the international community, which Erdogan clearly lacks. Despite being in office for 13 years, Babacan has not been tainted by corruption allegations and is known as the chief architect of Turkey’s rapid economic growth during the AKP’s first two terms,” he told Arab News.

“The legislation that the AKP-MHP coalition is working on may prevent deputy transfer only in case early elections are scheduled for the fall. Otherwise, the newly established parties will most likely build their organizations across the country and become viable for elections by summer, if not the spring of 2021.”

If Davutoglu and Babacan were successful in capturing disillusioned voters, they could prevent the ruling coalition getting the 51 percent of votes needed to secure a parliamentary majority.