Monday last week 3 students, Halima Musa (Science), Musa Mohamed Musa (Sociology), and Saa’dia Mohamed (Community Development) were killed by police fire in Dalanj University (Nuba Mountains/Southern Kordofan), and 20 others injured. According to press reports students staged demonstrations against the all powerful ‘Students Support Fund’, a parastatal organisation, effectively an NCP (aka NIF) organ, that has taken over the responsibility for students’ accommodation from university administrations in the early nineties in an effort to centralise control over student affairs, and simultaneously reap profits from the enterprise. In their refreshing mockery students named themselves ‘Support the Fund Students’.
Dalanj students demonstrated to express their anguish at the death of a fellow female student at the hands of thugs called into a females’ dormitory by the dormitory supervisor in order to disperse a benign party organised by friends and colleagues to celebrate the marriage of one of them. The probably loud dormitory event did not find favour with the responsible supervisor, who decisively called upon an unidentified gang to silence the unwelcome ‘song and dance’. The clash led to the serious injury of one of the students, and her consequent death.
Students angered by the negligence of the dormitory administration, which apparently failed to arrange appropriate medical care for the injured ransacked the premises of the ‘Students Support Fund’, and thus earned the wrath of the university administration and the police. In the ensuing violence further students were killed and many injured.
Sudan’s police force seems structurally prone to such ‘incidents’, a telling fact of its overt militarisation, and its enstrangement from the civil population it is supposedly trained to serve and protect. The police have actually become a ‘fighting force’ rather than a law enforcement agency. The branches and departments of which are no less opaque than those of the intelligence and security squadrons. In effect the lines between the two organs have become so blurred that an apparent distinction between them is indiscernible other than through clauses of ‘law’. In this latest incidence the police behaved as if on a battle field, used excessive force to handle a classical Molotov cocktails throwing bunch of students.
The story, not surprisingly, did not feature in the intensive media reporting on Sudan, an anomaly as it is devoid of the celebrated ‘ethnic’ or ‘tribal’ twist - the standard explanatory framework for all matters Sudanese. The agonies of Sudan’s urbanity of course do not deserve such attention, nor does a citizenry acting under no ‘ethnic’ label.