The Sudanese government has blamed the opposition for ongoing student protests across the country sparked after at least one person was allegedly killed by security forces during a peaceful demonstration. Khalid al-Mubarak, media counsellor at the Sudan embassy in London, told IBTimes UK opposition parties are allegedly inciting students in order to divert attention from real problems.
"The opposition in Sudan is isolated and has decided to divert attention from their problems by inciting students and spreading rumours of unconfirmed reports about police violence. These reports are not real," he said.
The official then alleged the opposition was inciting the students after it had refused to sign a document that could pave the way for peace in the country. "The Troika [Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States], the United Nations and the African Union have asked the opposition to sign the roadmap for peace in Sudan," he said.
While the government signed the document, opposition groups Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), and the National Umma Party (NUP), refused to sign citing factors such as disagreement with the government and ongoing conflicts in Darfur , South Kordofan and Blue Nile states as obstacles.
"The rebels have refused to sign until today and they want to maintain tensions and problems in the country and do not want to have a national dialogue," Mubarak alleged. "They are also diverting attention from what is happening in South Sudan as the the rebel opposition here is linked to the one in South Sudan," the official concluded.
The comments came days after Amnesty International called on the Sudanese government to investigate on the death of engineering student Abubakar Hassan, 18, believed to have been killed at Kordofan University, central Sudan, on 18 April by a gunshot to the head fired by security forces.
It is believed Hassan was killed as he was taking part in a peaceful march heading to the student union building where students would nominate pro-opposition candidates for their campus elections. At least 27 students were allegedly injured in the clashes, the rights group continued. The incident sparked protests in several universities across the country, with the Guardian reporting authorities suspended classes and used teargas on protesters.
"The claims made by the Sudanese official are inaccurate," Ahmed Alzobir, Amnesty's researcher on Sudan, told IBTimes UK. "When students tried to submit the list of candidates to the election committee, they were prevented from doing so by national security agents and the police, which used live ammunition. Many of the students were also arrested for simply practicing their rights.
"This is not the first time, in March 2015 a similar scenario happened in another university in the country. Students affiliated to the ruling party try to control student unions across the country and this has been a standard practice in Sudan for a very long time unfortunately," Alzobir continued.
Mubarak said the government was investigating what happened at the Kordofan University and added more information on the investigation will be available next week.
Students 'not pieces of chess'
Muhammed Jalal Hashim, from the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP), denied the allegations and told IBTimes UK pro-opposition students were prevented from submitting their list. "It is true, Abubakar Hassan was killed and students were harassed by other students who support the government," he said.
"On the same day, in the morning around nine, the militia affiliated to the government attacked the students. This is what led to protests. Students are not pieces of chess, they always took the initiative to protest. To say they were manipulated by the opposition is totally wrong. These protests are related to the student election, something the opposition is not involved with directly."