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Eritrea has "hand" in Port Sudan clashes, Sudanese governor

02 Feb 2005; BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom

Excerpt from report by Sudanese newspaper Al-Sahafah

The Red Sea State governor, Gen Hatim al-Wasila al-Sammani, has accused Eritrea and members of the Popular National Congress [PNC] of being involved in the Port Sudan events and ordered the Public Prosecution to speed up its investigations. Meanwhile, the government has played down claims that the merger between the "Beja Congress" and "the Free Lions" would be a threat.

In a statement to Al-Sahafa, Al-Sammani said more suspects were being arrested but refused to say how many new people have been arrested so far.

Al-Wasilah accused Eritrea of having a hand in the incident by trying to open a new front in the east and draw the world attention to it.

He also accused some PNC cadres of trying to internationalize the issue "but we have made sure that such an opportunity will arise". [Passage omitted]

Meanwhile the representative of Sinkat said that the Khartoum-port Sudan road had been made secure, and that steps had been taken to protect oil pipelines against attacks.

For his part, the coordinator of Beja students affairs at universities and institutes said, in a statement, that the students in Kasala town had been prevented from submitting a memorandum similar to the one submitted by Port Sudan students to demand the release of prisoners and power and wealth sharing similar to the arrangements reached with the people of the Nuba mountains, the Blue Nile and Abyei, despite the fact that they were not part of the south, as he put it.

The coordinator said Beja graduates should be given jobs in the civil service.

Furthermore, the deputy secretary-general of the [ruling] National Congress and the head of the government delegation to the talks with the opposition National Democratic Alliance [NDA], Dr Nafi Ali Nafi, has ruled out any direct involvement of the opposition Beja Congress in the recent events in Port Sudan.

Nafi told the press yesterday that the incidents in Port Sudan were carried out by a Port Sudan group using the name of the Beja Congress. He pointed out that there was nothing to indicate that the member of the Beja Congress, either registered inside the country or in exile, had a hand in the incident.

Nafi played down the news of the merger between the Beja Congress and the Free Lions into a single military organization against the government. He said such a merger should not be seen as a new development as the two organizations were originally one group and one opposition with a joint plan of action.

Source: Al-Sahafah, Khartoum, in Arabic 2 Feb 05



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