September 17, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – An eastern Sudan tribal group blocked the highway linking the main maritime ports on the Red Sea with the rest of the country to protest the government’s refusal to cancel a peace deal signed last year.
The supporters of the Hadandawa tribal leader Mohamed al-Amin Turk, who was also a leading local member of the dissolved National Congress Party of Omer al-Bashir rejects the “East Sudan Track” of the Juba Peace Agreement saying the groups that negotiated the deal do not represent the region.
A day after the signing of the peace deal including groups from the Blue Nile state
Darfur and eastern Sudan regions on 3 October 2020, Turk supporters had blocked the Port Sudan highway to express their rejection of the deal.
On Friday, the group again blocked the vital road linking the Port Sudan with Khartoum in addition to the route leading to Suakin container terminal on the Red Sea and the Ossif station on the road linking Sudan and Egypt.
Sharif Turk, the son of the tribal leader, confirmed to the Sudan Tribune the partial closure of the roads leading to the Red Sea saying they target the movement of trucks loaded with goods between the seaports and the capital, Khartoum, as well as the rest of the country.
“In return, buses and private vehicles, ambulances as police vehicles are not concerned by the protest movement and can circulate freely,” he added.
For his part, the head of the Eastern Sudan Gathering and a member of the Higher Coordination of Eastern Sudan Entities (HCESE) Mubarak al-Nur told the Sudan Tribune that the eastern Sudan people are united in their demand to cancel the East Track of the Juba Peace Agreement signed on October 3, 2020.
He stressed that as a result of the government’s failure to respond to their demand, the HCESE now demands the dissolution of the government.
In Khartoum, the government did not react to the closure of the national road, but some officials agreed that its continuation will adversely affect the national economy.
Native administration calls for action
The Eastern Sudan Native Administration Supreme Council rejected the closure of the national routes and called on the government to take the needed action
In a statement issued on Friday, the Council described the closure of the roads as a “crime against the Sudanese people aiming to undermine the revolution and serve the return of totalitarianism and tyranny”.
The Native Administration body further called on the government to assume its responsibilities and to reopen the roads within 48 hours.
“Otherwise, we will fulfil this duty. We will not hesitate to protect our people and preserve their interests and dignity,” warned the statement opening the door for tribal escalation in the eastern Sudan impoverished region.