On Sunday the 24th of February, students at the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST), a private university in Khartoum, Sudan were assaulted by security forces after peacefully protesting against the expulsion of a group of students.This was the second day of protests, yet it was decidedly more violent than the first day.
Reportedly, the President of the University, Mamoun Humeida, allowed these officers to enter his university even though he knew that students would likely be hurt badly. Students were dragged out of their classrooms, arrested, threatened and had tear gas thrown at them. People were forced to line up, were beaten and then were loaded into pick-up trucks afterwards. The treatment of these students was barbaric and vicious as any of the Twitter coverage will show you.
The worst thing is that these attacks are not an isolated incident. An increasing number of these types of attacks are happening all over Sudan. In fact, barely a month before this incident on the 10th of January 2019, a hospital in Khartoum had been attacked in a similar way in Omdurman with officers marching into the emergency and medical areas of the hospital and hurting both patients and doctors, looking for protesters who were at the hospital seeking medical attention. Another attack happened in Khartoum’s Burri district on January 17 where security officers fired tear gas and caused the deaths of two people, one of them being a doctor.
On the 21st of January, there was a protest that’s been described as the largest march in Khartoum which resulted in the deaths of two young men: Mahjoub Ibrahim and Abdel-Azim Babikir. According to the Central Committee of Sudan’s Doctors, Ibrahim was a second-year medical student at Al-Razi University who died after being subjected to torture in a detention centre of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Babikir on the other hand, died from a bullet wound to the chest. Countless others were injured at the protest.
All of these protests that result in violent backlash indicate a pattern that is occurring in Sudan where those in authority use aggressive and deadly means in order to silence their citizens. Such silencing methods are used to thwart dissent and halt real change from being achieved.
Luckily, the President of UMST has now temporarily closed the university down, but it is unclear for how long and students are worried about the increasingly heated situation.
We hear so much news about the world and yet I only heard about this story from Twitter, where people had been posting videos of the attack under the tag UMST. I tried to find out more from Google, but nothing came up. I was perplexed. People are being terrorised and abused yet not a single news outlet bothers to report on this event. These people are being brutally attacked for the simple act of protesting — something that is a recognised human right.
How is this not significant enough to talk about? What more do the citizens of Sudan have to go through before these attacks by security officers stop?