Targeting of Darfuri Students at Sudanese Universities
February 25, 2012–The Darfuri Association of Students reported last month that Darfuri students are constantly targeted by the notorious National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).
A few weeks ago, seven students who hail from the embattled region of Darfur ,studying at Omdurman Islamic University were arrested by the NISS.
“The National Congress regime has targeted the Darfuri human being since the beginning of the humanitarian crisis in the region, especially the student sector,” began the report circulated by the association via email.
The report states that Darfuri students are attacked inside their dorm rooms and their student unions at Sudanese universities are denied many rights available to other unions.
Last December, 42 Darfuri students studying at Red Sea University in Port Sudan, a city in Eastern Sudan, resigned from the university to protest the ongoing harassment and targeting by security services.
Girifna would like to highlight the case of Mohamed Idris Jeddo, the former president of the Darfur Student Union at the university of Khartoum, a student body bringing together between 5,000 to 7,000 students.
Jeddo graduated last year from the English Language department of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Khartoum and is known for his activism on the Darfur issue. Since joining the university, he became a part of the Forum for Independent Students , an active student body of non-political students and campaigned for more freedoms on campus and a better relationship between students and forces.
Girifna believes that his role as the head of the Darfur Association of Students and his Zaghawa ethnic background made him a target by the security as it believes that students active on campus are all linked to rebel movements in Darfur.
Last December, the young graduate and Girifna member was kidnapped by the National intelligence and Security Services (NISS) as they pulled him out of a bus he was boarding near the university campus. Jeddo has been detained for over 45 days and his friends are worried that he is being subjected to abuse and torture.
“When we asked the NISS, we were told that they are keeping him until the protest at the university comes to an end,” said one of his friends.
His friend stated that students such as Jeddo and Taj Al Sir, a student at the University of Khartoum and Girifna activist are detained to pressure the students to stop protesting and forget about the December incident when students were injured, arrested and robbed by the Khartoum State Police.
When about 700 students protested in support of the Manasir cause on December 22, the police and NISS cracked down on peaceful student protesters. Over 70 were arrested and dorms were raided and students reported theft of personal items including money and laptops.
The following week, starting from Sunday 25/12, university students began a protest and sit-in to demand accountability from the administration that failed to protect them from the police clampdown, an apology from Khartoum state police, compensation for wounded and robbed students and postponing the exams in light of the chaotic situation.
The administration did not stand up for students, but closed down the university to halt the protest and disperse students by pressuring them out of dorms.
Moreover. students like Jeddo were arrested because of their effective role in mobilizing students to stand up for their rights.
The racist nature of attacks against Darfuri students was also evident during the 17 February raid on Khartoum University dorms. Two victims of the attacks have stated that they were asked about their tribes even before detention and they explained that police forces used racist slurs.
“I can’t even repeat the racist words and questions the police forces were bombarding us with ,” said one of the speakers during the press conference on the Khartoum raid incident.
Girifna is concerned that active students, in general, are targeted by the NISS and in specific, minority students because youth unlike political parties and movements are moving beyond ethnic and regional issues and are working collectively to address issues such as the Darfur or the Manasir case as a national issue, a Sudanese issue.
This is why we are concerned about the ongoing targeting and harassment of Darfuri students by the NISS and other state agents who work hard to keep the Darfur issue inside the Darfur region.
We refuse to succumb to this isolation and reiterate our support for all youth groups in Sudan working for change.