Sudan police raid campus, arrest hundreds-activists

KHARTOUM Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:26pm EST

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KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese police arrested hundreds of students in a pre-dawn raid on dormitories in the University of Khartoum Friday, in a crackdown on a campus that has been at the center of recent anti-government protests, activists said.

The university in the Sudanese capital has been closed for about two months after students staged demonstrations over rising prices, unemployment and other issues.

Police wielding batons entered the student housing early on Friday morning, beating and detaining hundreds of those who had remained in the dormitories waiting for classes to resume, one witness said.

"We were woken in our rooms by the voices and strikes of the police," said the witness, who asked not to be identified. Many students had been staying on campus despite previous orders to leave because they were not from Khartoum and had nowhere else to stay, he said.

Sudan's police spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the reports.

Sudan has not seen mass protests like the ones that ousted leaders in Egypt and Tunisia, but small demonstrations inspired by revolts in other Arab countries have flared up over the past year over inflation and other issues.

Mohamed Omar, a member of a committee of student activists from the university, told reporters police arrested 317 students in the raid.

They were being held at 11 police stations throughout Khartoum, but the group could not locate two of the arrested students, he said.

A lawyer who has been monitoring the events, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said police had charged the students under a criminal law against inciting unrest.

"The students were sleeping, so how could they be inciting unrest?" the lawyer said.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo and Andrew Heavens)

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