October 26, 2011

Kassala visit by Bashir and Awerki

Kassala University. Pic by jabir.

A new road running from Kassala to the Eritrean border will be officially opened today by the Sudanese and Eritrean presidents. It is 26 kilometers long and cost $9 million. Funds came from Qatar. A 1400 unit housing project will also be opened.

Students have been protesting. With the ongoing financial difficulties in Sudan, officials expect students to demonstrate again. Groups such as Grifina and Student Youth Mainstream have been leading rallies of students for the past ten days. The young people have been calling for overthrow of the regime and provision of food for the people of the state, which they considered poverty-stricken.

A week ago, on October 20, five or eight people were run over by a security vehicle. Some were seriously injured. Demonstrators are asking for the prosecution of the officers. 

From Kassala, AllAfrica reports on student demonstrations. Hundreds of students and anti-government youth, led by a group calling itself the Student Youth Mainstream, chanted slogans in the streets adjoining the University of Kassala.

AllAfrica also reports on the visit by Bashir and Afwerki, noting that Al-Bashir's visit to Kassala coincides with a wave of intermittent students' protest that has been sweeping the eastern town since October 18.

 SudanVision photo and another story!

UPDATE. Done Deal. Lots of media coverage on this story. French African [in English] news source.  His Highness the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani spoke. Read the AllAfrica account of the inauguration of the asphalt road. Speeches were made and gifts were given.

"... The Administrator of Kassala region, Mr. Mohammed Yusuf Adem, expressed appreciation for the contribution of the people and Government of Eritrea under the leadership of President Isaias for concluding the peace agreement between East Sudan Front and the Government of Sudan. In this regard, he said: "The role of the people and Government of Eritrea occupies a special place in the heart of every Sudanese national."

"Mr. Mohammed Yusuf Adem presented a sword souvenir, a cultural symbol of the Kassala region, to President Isaias, Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and President Omar Hasan Al-Bashir.

"The Arbatasher-Kassala road was part of the development program for Eastern Sudan region in line with the peace agreement concluded in Asmara in October 2006 between the Government of Sudan and the East Sudan Front. The project was also funded by the State of Qatar."

MORE. View a 30 minute edited video of the celebrations inaugurating the road. [Missing: pics of vehicles using the road... not even any pics of the road itself!] But there are speeches, and dancing, and gift giving and the crowds!


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