Student protest has been swelling in Sudan since the Friday discovery of the bodies of four student activists from Darfur, with reports now saying that one university’s dorms have been burned to the ground today.
The four students were reportedly found dead in a canal after their participation in a sit-in protesting Al-Gazira University’s refusal to waive their tuition fees as mandated by peace agreements signed in 2006 and 2010.
Eleven students were arrested in the anti-tuition protests on December 2, but the demonstrations continued. Witnesses say that when police broke up a sit-in on December 5, they pushed protesters toward the canal where the four students’ bodies were later found. Administrators say the students drowned, but authorities have refused to release medical examiners’ reports, arresting one student’s lawyer when he requested it.
Police say 47 students were arrested in protests on Sunday, and on Monday the administration of Al-Gazira University announced that it was suspending classes indefinitely.
Protests have continued, however, and today reports charge that supporters of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have burned the dormitories of Omdurman Islamic University.
10:45 am Eastern Time Update | Twitterer @SuperMojok is on the ground at Omdurman Islamic University (OIU). He reports that the dormitory fire was blazing for an hour before fire crews arrived, but that many students likely got out safely because they had been driven from the buildings by tear gas before the fires began. He reports that students say the number of arrests today is “very very high,” and that in the last hour police have left the scene, replaced by representatives of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
12:30 pm ET | Reuters reports that police have used teargas today on student protesters in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital. They also quote a student leader as saying that demonstrators at OIU were driven to the dorms by police and NCP agents using teargas and batons before the fires at the dorms broke out. Meanwhile, a representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday described Sudanese government attacks on students as “a worrying trend,” and called for an independent investigation of last week’s murders.