Darfur students accused the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) of being a tool of the ruling Nation Congress Party, and neglecting its responsibility towards Darfuri students.
During a a press conference, hosted by the National Umma Party in Omdurman on Saturday, the students denounced the silence of the DRA authorities after the violent eviction of female students by security forces from the Zahra boarding complex in Khartoum last week.
The National Endowment Fund for Students had ordered a group of 70 Darfuri female students to vacate the boarding house, popularly known as the Barracks dormitory, before 25 September, as the facility needed maintenance. The students refused to leave, saying they had nowhere else to go. In the early morning of 5 September, a large number of security forces stormed the place, and brutally expelled them. Dozens of them were detained by the security.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Saadia El Sheikh, who was shortly detained, said that 28 female students from Darfur disappeared during the attack. “We do not know anything about their fate until now. Fadwa, Suzan, and Hanan have been released. They are in a bad condition, as they were beaten and tortured in detention. Of 13 others, we know that they are still being held.”
El Sheikh related that apart from beatings and sexual harassment during the expulsion, they faced mental abuses. “They insulted us by racist phrases as we are from Darfur. The attack is nothing more than a repetition of what is happening in our home region.”
She called via Radio Dabanga upon “the people of Darfur and the Sudanese to unite, in order to stop the humiliating attacks carried out by the security service”.
‘Tool for ruling party’
Student Fatima Fadul accused the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), chaired by El Tijani Sese, of shirking its obligations towards the students from the region. DRA officials in Khartoum had refused to meet with the Darfuri students, “They told us that they will not support us, and closed the door in our face. So here we are, evicted, without accommodation, food, or water. ”
The Darfur Students Associations Alliance holds the DRA, the National Endowment Fund for Students, the management of the Sudanese universities, and the security apparatus responsible for the violence used against Darfuri students.
The head of the Alliance, Kamal El Zein, told Radio Dabanga that the DRA officials “have done nothing to support the students”. “The DRA has turned into a mere tool for the implementation of the ruling party’s agenda.”
El Zein strongly condemned the silence by the DRA about the “suffering of the Darfuri students at Sudanese universities, the evictions and the prosecutions by the security forces”, and described the Darfuri leaders, cooperating with the government as “cowards”. He warned that the students will “take actions” if the security apparatus will not release the female students soon.
File photo: Head of the DRA, El Tijani Sese (Albert Gonzand#225;lez Farran/Unamid)