Sudan struggles to contain mounting wave of protests

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 25.12.2018 23:46
Updated 26.12.2018 08:00

Sudan's president pledged to carry out economic reforms to ease the tension amid street protests over price hikes and a shortage of basic commodities.

The state-run SUNA news agency reported that President Omar Bashir "has affirmed the state will continue to carry out economic reforms to ensure a decent living for the citizens."

He met officials of the Security and Intelligence Services and praised their efforts in supporting the flow of services of the government, as well as ensuring people's safety.

"President Bashir has called on the citizens to give no account to the promoters of rumors and to be cautious over the attempts to plant frustration, promising with real measures to restore the citizens' confidence on the banking system," SUNA reported.

Protests erupted last Wednesday, initially in response to steep price hikes and shortages, particularly of bread. They spread to multiple cities, with crowds usually numbering in the hundreds, and have become focused on forcing Bashir out of office. While official estimates put the death toll from the protests at eight, opposition groups say that at least 22 people have been killed in the unrest.

Sudanese authorities have announced a state of emergency and curfew in a number of provinces over the protests, with government officials accusing Israel of plotting with rebel groups to cause violence in the country, according to Anadolu Agency.

A nation of 40 million people, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of three-quarters of its oil output – its main source of foreign currency – when South Sudan seceded in 2011.

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