Two people were killed and nine injured yesterday when police opened fire during a student protest in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
Students protested as mediators in the Darfur peace process were meeting with civil society representatives at Zelengi University, in West Darfur state, police said in a statement on the Ministry of Interior’s website. The delegation was led by Qatari State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud and the African Union and United Nations’ chief mediator, Djibril Bassole.
The students threw rocks at police “which caused the force to open fire in the air in an attempt to control the situation,” resulting in the death of a student, police said. A trader later died from gunshot injuries. Three policemen were injured, they said.
Sudan’s two main rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement faction and the Justice and Equality Movement, have halted peace talks with the Sudanese government. They accuse the government of violating previous agreements and demand that armed pro-government militias be disarmed.
The UN and AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur said yesterday that at least one person was killed when gunfire broke out.
Sudan’s army has been fighting rebels in Darfur since 2003, when insurgents took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting the region.
The conflict has led to the death of as many as 300,000 people, mainly due to illness and starvation, and forced about 2.7 million people to flee their homes, according to UN estimates. The Sudanese government has put the death toll at about 10,000.
The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, accusing him of responsibility for genocide and war crimes in Darfur. He denies the charges.