Sudan’s Hausa in massive protest after deadly clashes over land

Sudan’s Hausa in massive protest after deadly clashes over land
A vehicle burns during clashes in Sudan’s eastern city of Kassala as thousands of Hausa protesters attacked government buildings across the country. (AFP)
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Updated 19 July 2022

Sudan’s Hausa in massive protest after deadly clashes over land

Sudan’s Hausa in massive protest after deadly clashes over land
  • 79 killed and 199 wounded since heavy fighting broke out last week

KHARTOUM: Thousands of Sudan’s Hausa people protested in multiple cities on Tuesday, demanding justice for dozens of comrades killed in a deadly land dispute with a rival ethnic group in the country’s south.

The protests sparked by anger at the recent violence is the latest unrest to hit the northeast African nation, already reeling from months of mass demonstrations demanding the restoration of a transition to civilian rule following a military coup last year.

At least 79 people have been killed and 199 wounded since heavy fighting broke out last week between the Berti and Hausa groups in Blue Nile state, the Health Ministry says.

While the army has been deployed in Blue Nile and the fighting there quashed, protests have since erupted in other states, with marches on the streets of the capital Khartoum, as well as in the key eastern cities of Gedaref, Kassala and Port Sudan.

On Tuesday, Hausa protesters in Khartoum held up signs demanding “justice for the Blue Nile martyrs” and “no to the murder of Hausas.”

Fighting reportedly broke out on July 11 after Bertis rejected a Hausa request to create a “civil authority to supervise access to land,” a prominent Hausa member said.

But a senior Berti leader said the group was responding to a “violation” of their land by the Hausas.

In Sudan, deadly clashes regularly erupt over land, livestock, access to water and grazing, especially in areas awash with weapons still struggling from the impact of decades of civil war.

Experts, however, say an October coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan has stroked a resurgence in ethnic violence.

In Gedaref, some 4,000 people marched chanting “Hausa are citizens too” and “revenge for the martyrs of the Blue Nile.”

Some 500 people also “blocked the highway” in the town of Al-Showak in Gedaref state, eyewitness Saleh Abbas told AFP.

In El-Obeid, capital of North Kordofan state, some 3,000 marched on the streets chanting “the Hausa will win,” while in Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, thousands of Hausa gathered outside local government offices calling for “justice for the martyrs.”

In Kassala, authorities have banned public gatherings after thousands of Hausa demonstrators “set government buildings and shops on fire,” said Hussein Saleh, another witness.

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries and mired in an economic crisis that has deepened since Burhan seized power last year, has seen only rare interludes of civilian rule since independence.

Blue Nile, where the fighting erupted last week, was a key battleground of rebels trying to topple former president Omar Bashir during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war, with fighting resuming again in 2011.

After enormous protests against his rule, the army ousted Bashir in 2019.

The following year, a civilian-military power-sharing government reached a peace deal with key rebel groups, including from Blue Nile as well as the war-ravaged western Darfur region. Darfur has also seen a renewed spike in deadly violence in recent months.

Pro-democracy activists have accused Sudan’s military and ex-rebel leaders who signed that peace deal of exacerbating ethnic tensions for political gain, claims they reject.


Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown

Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown
Updated 25 sec ago

Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown

Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown
  • A Syrian in his 50s, who lives in a refugee camp, and a Lebanese woman caring for him were this week confirmed to have the disease in Akkar
  • The last cholera epidemic in Lebanon was recorded in 1993

BEIRUT: Lebanese health authorities fear that the country could be hit by its first cholera epidemic in nearly three decades after the confirmation of two cases close to the Syrian border.
A Syrian in his 50s, who lives in a refugee camp, and a Lebanese woman caring for him were this week confirmed to have the disease in Akkar. The Syrian, whose infection was recorded on Oct. 5, was said to be stable in hospital while the woman was with her family and stable.
Health Ministry officials said that they had also recorded multiple cases of diarrhea in Akkar, which has poor sanitation services and a population swelled by refugees, and tests are ongoing to check whether any of the sufferers have cholera.
Meanwhile, three to five daily cases of hepatitis are being recorded among villagers in the northern region of Danniyeh.
The last cholera epidemic in Lebanon was recorded in 1993 and led to several deaths. Its re-emergence comes amid an outbreak in Syria, with thousands of cases in the past month.
Firas Abiad, Lebanon’s caretaker health minister, said that he expected cases to rise due to the outbreak across the border.
However he noted that cases were “still limited,” and that medicine was available. He stressed that Lebanon was coordinating with the World Health Organization, while his ministry was examining sewage water and instructing hospitals to report any patient with symptoms.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Bizri, an MP and bacteriologist, told Arab News that Lebanon’s weakened state left it vulnerable to mass infection.
“Hepatitis and cholera will spread in Lebanon as a result of the collapse of state institutions, the lack of maintenance of sewage and sewers, and electricity and water cuts,” he said.
“The Syrian patient refrained from saying how he contracted the disease. We don’t know if he was in Syria illegally and returned to Lebanon. If this is the case, it is easy to contain the disease.
“But if the cause is contaminated water, many others could contract the disease, especially since state institutions and municipalities are not carrying out their duties in terms of ensuring water safety and isolating sewage.
“Hepatitis and cholera outbreaks are a symbol of the state’s failure and we are paying the price.”
The threat of disease adds to problems faced by a country already suffering financial collapse.
Lebanese banks on Friday closed after an unprecedented wave of holdups by savers trying to access their frozen accounts.
Branches had been open only a few days since the last closure two weeks ago, in response to armed intruders threatening employees to get their money.
Banks have now threatened to close their doors indefinitely and their services will be limited to ATMs. An appointment-only system failed to stop the holdups.
Lebanese are also worried about the security situation, as negotiations stall in a US-mediated maritime deal with Israel over the extraction of gas and oil from the disputed Karish field.
Israel Hayom, an Israeli newspaper, reported that authorities were preparing to begin tests “possibly early next week.”
Lebanon is opposed to drilling. During the Friday sermon, Hezbollah’s Shoura Council Sheikh, Mohammed Yazbek, said: “Our response is clear. Oil shall not be extracted from the Karish field before Lebanon’s demands are met. We don’t want war, but we will be ready for it should it happen.”
The US mediation has not ended despite the Israeli refusal to consider Lebanon’s proposed amendments to the deal.


Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology

Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology
Updated 31 min 10 sec ago

Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology

Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology
  • Munib Al-Masri will present his dossier to the British government later this year

LONDON: A petition for an apology from the UK government for atrocities committed in Palestine in the first half of the 20th century will be lodged by a Palestinian businessman and former politician, it was reported Friday.

A 300-page document outlining crimes and abuses committed by British forces in Palestine between 1917 and 1948 has been drafted by Munib Al-Masri, a close friend and ally of late Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat, according to the BBC.

The 88-year-old told the broadcaster he was shot as a young boy in 1944, an incident that affected him in his adult life, saying: “(Britain’s role) affected me a lot because I saw how people were harassed…We had no protection whatsoever and nobody to defend us.”

Al-Masri will present his dossier to the British government later this year.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, a former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, and British lawyer Ben Emmerson are reviewing the evidence.

Emmerson told the BBC that “shocking crimes committed by certain elements of the British mandatory forces” were carried out “systematically on the Palestinian population,” adding that even during the time the crimes were carried out, they would have been seen as breaches of international law.

According to the BBC, the British Defense Ministry said it was aware of “historical allegations” during the period outlined in the dossier and that any evidence would be “reviewed thoroughly.”


At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran

At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran
Updated 38 min 58 sec ago

At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran

At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran
  • Sept. 30 marked the deadliest day on record since protests spread across Iran
  • Amnesty International secretary-general said Iranian authorities have repeatedly shown utter disregard for human life

DUBAI: Many Iranians are widely referring to Friday, Sept. 30 as “Bloody Friday” following violent crackdowns by Iranian security forces that resulted in the unlawful killing of 66 Balochi protesters demonstrating Mahsa Amini’s death.

Following the death of 22-year-old Amini, who reportedly died in custody after her arrest by Iran’s “morality” police, Sept. 30 marked the deadliest day on record since protests began spreading across Iran last month, according to a report issued by Amnesty International on Friday.

The report said Iranian security forces unlawfully killed at least 66 people, including children, and injured hundreds of others after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters, bystanders and worshippers after Friday prayers.  

Since then, another 16 people were killed in separate incidents in Zahedan amid an ongoing clampdown on protests.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said Iranian authorities have repeatedly shown utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and will stop at nothing to preserve power.

“The callous violence being unleashed by Iran’s security forces is not occurring in a vacuum. It is the result of systematic impunity and a lacklustre response by the international community,” she added.

Evidence gathered by Amnesty International shows that the majority of victims were shot in the head, heart, neck and torso, revealing a clear intent to kill or seriously harm.

Consistent with their previous pattern of denial and cover-up, according to Amnesty’s report, the authorities have under-reported the number of fatalities, announcing that 19 people, including bystanders and several members of the security forces, were killed during the protests in Zahedan on Sept. 30.

In an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility for the deaths, the authorities have shared false narratives blaming the deaths on “terrorists,” “rioters” and “separatists,” whom they claim were acting for foreign governments.

Propaganda videos broadcast on state media after Sept. 30 have shown detainees, whom authorities allege were involved in armed attacks against security forces in Zahedan, with sacks over their heads.

The authorities have claimed that protesters had committed acts of looting and arson on public property.

Protests in Zahedan, Sistan and Balochistan province, populated by the long-oppressed Balochi ethnic minority, were scheduled to take place after Friday prayers on Sept. 30 as a show of solidarity with nationwide protests and to demand accountability for the reported rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police commander in the province.


Iranian state coroner says Mahsa Amini did not die from blows to body

Iranian state coroner says Mahsa Amini did not die from blows to body
Updated 07 October 2022

Iranian state coroner says Mahsa Amini did not die from blows to body

Iranian state coroner says Mahsa Amini did not die from blows to body
  • Authorities say 16-year-old girl committed suicide
  • Coroner’s report notes pre-existing medical conditions

DUBAI: An official Iranian coroner’s report denied Mahsa Amini had died due to blows to the head and limbs while in the custody of Iran’s morality police and linked her death to pre-existing medical conditions, state media said on Friday.
The death of 22-year-old Amini while in police custody has ignited three weeks of nationwide unrest marking the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders in years.
Her father has said she suffered bruises to her legs, and has held the police responsible for her death.
The coroner’s report said her death was “not caused by any blow to the head and limbs.” It did not say whether she had suffered any injuries.
Amini was arrested in Tehran on Sept. 13 for “inappropriate attire,” and died three days later.
Referring to the day Amini collapsed in custody, the coroner said she had briefly regained consciousness but that “cardio-respiratory resuscitation was ineffective in the first critical minute, resulting in brain damage.”
The report noted pre-existing medical conditions linked to a brain tumor for which she had undergone an operation when she was 8 years old. “She died due to multiple organ failure caused by cerebral hypoxia,” it said.
The police, who have enforced strict dress codes since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, have denied she suffered any harm, previously saying she suffered a heart attack.
Her family deny she had any heart problems.
The government has ordered an investigation into her death.
During the nationwide protests demonstrators have damaged symbols of the Islamic Republic and called for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rights groups say more than 150 people have been killed, hundreds have been injured and thousands arrested in a crackdown by security forces.
The government has described the protests as a plot by Iran’s enemies including the United States, accusing armed dissidents — among others — of violence in which at least 20 members of the security forces have been reported killed.
State TV broadcast a mass funeral in Tehran on Friday for a member of the Basij — a volunteer militia deployed to quell unrest — saying he had been stabbed by protesters.
“We know our main enemies. You are novices and mercenaries of Israel, America and Zionism and cannot do anything in this country except torching garbage bins,” a woman at the funeral said in comments to state TV, criticizing protesters.
Analysts do not believe the clerical establishment is close to being toppled despite growing frustration over strict social and political limitations imposed over the past four decades since the fall of the US-backed Shah.
The United States has called for accountability for Amini’s death “after injuries sustained while in police custody.” On Thursday, Washington imposed sanctions on seven Iranian officials over a shutdown of Internet access and the crackdown.
Women have played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning headscarves. High school girls have also taken part.
Meanwhile the activist rights group HRANA published a statement it said it signed with 161 other rights and feminist groups calling on the United Nations to investigate alleged rights violations in the country.
Iranian media reported on Friday that authorities had denied reports that security forces killed a 16-year-old girl during the protests, citing a chief justice as saying she committed suicide by falling off a roof.
Social media reports and rights group Amnesty International have said Sarina Esmaeilzadeh was killed by security forces when she was struck with batons on the head during protests.
Authorities earlier this week gave a similar cause of death — falling off a roof — for 17-year-old Nika Shakarami, who activists say was killed in Tehran while demonstrating.


UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’

UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’
Updated 07 October 2022

UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’

UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’
  • Islamic Centre of England boss condemned women for removing their hijabs

LONDON: The head of a British charity with links to Iran has slammed women resisting the regime’s rule as “soldiers of Satan,” condemning women who remove their hijabs as spreading “poison.”

Seyed Moosavi, the director of the Islamic Centre of England, said in a social media speech on Tuesday: “We do not expect any good from the soldiers of Satan, but we are the lovers of Allah. We try to protect our religion, to protect the truth.”

The center, which is funded by government authorities in Tehran, hosted the broadcast by Moosavi amid demonstrations against the Iranian regime following the death of Mahsa Amini, who died under suspicious circumstances after being arrested for “inappropriately” wearing the hijab.

The center, which is based in the prosperous Maida Vale district in northwest London, was the scene of protests from anti-regime Iranians as the fight against the ayatollahs spread from Iran to the diaspora around the world.

Moosavi, who is a personal representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said the bolstered laws on compulsory headdress were good and that the protestors were going “against the teaching of Islam.”

The Times of London reported that Kasra Aarabi, an Iran analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change who has contributed to Arab News features, uncovered the controversial sections of the speech in a tweet: “The UK govt must take action against the Islamic Centre of England. It’s clear the views propagated at the centre are a direct threat to British values & citizens. The centre should be shut-down & Khamenei’s representatives should be expelled.”

The mosque is part of a network of groups that analysts believe have close links to the regime. Britain’s charity regulator investigated the center in January 2020 after it described the slain Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani as a “martyr” during a vigil following his killing by a US drone strike.

The Times contacted the Islamic Centre of England for comment.

The Charity Commission told the British newspaper that Moosavi’s social media speech would be included in its review of the organization’s output. 

A spokeswoman said: “We are aware of a speech given by a trustee of the Islamic Centre of England. We have an ongoing regulatory compliance case into this charity to monitor whether it has addressed an official warning previously issued. We will be assessing this speech as part of this case.”