Sudanese government forces violently broke up a peaceful protest in Belil, South Darfur, leaving one woman dead and eight others injured, on Wednesday, 28 April.
The protest began the previous Sunday and called for the Belil settlement, which is 15km east of Nyala, to be provided with basic necessities, such as electricity, the construction of a road connecting with Nyala, and emergency services including fire-fighting equipment and an ambulance.
A state of emergency has been imposed on the area by the local government, which includes a curfew between 7 pm and 6 am.
The state’s violent attack on protesters threatens to further escalate tensions in the area, with rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement condemning state authorities in South Darfur for unleashing violent repression on the peaceful protesters, and said that the national government was ultimately responsible.
The group said in a statement: “The South Darfur state government committed a crime against peaceful protesters in the Belil area by using live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the sit-in.”
Ethnic conflict has blighted Darfur since 2003, leaving tens of thousands dead and millions displaced from their homes. The crisis began after African minority rebels tried to overthrow al-Bashir’s Arab-dominated government. In response, al-Bashir used an armed militia, the Janjaweed, which was notorious for its use of ethnic cleansing campaigns and rape of civilians.
Meanwhile, a new Internal Security Agency Bill has been met with anger across the Sudanese political spectrum. The bill would allow state authorities the right to detain people without a court order or warrant.