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Sudan: Government must investigate brutal killing of 18-year-old university student by intelligence agents

By Amnesty International
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The brutal killing of an 18-year-old Sudanese university student by intelligence agents yesterday must be urgently and impartially investigated, Amnesty International said today, as repression of students in the country intensifies.

AbubakarHassan MohamedTaha, a first year engineering studentat the University of Kordofan in Al-Obeid,the capital ofNorthKordofanState, died ofa gunshot wound to the head. Another 27studentswereinjured,fiveof themseriously. It is the latest incident in a brutal crackdown against students that began in 2012 and has seen scores killed, injured or detained, sometimes incommunicado.

“Thisviolent attackis yet another shocking episode inof a string of human rights violations against university students across Sudan and underlines the government's shameful determination to put out the last vestiges of dissent,”MuthoniWanyeki, Amnesty International'sRegional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The reprehensible violence by state agents against the studentsmust be thoroughly and impartially investigated and those responsible brought to justice.”

The students had beenmarching peacefully towards the office of students'union to submit their list ofpro-oppositioncandidates for union elections due to be held that day.

Shortly after the march had begun,plainclothes agents of the National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) intercepted them in an attempt to stop them from taking part in the elections.

One studenttold Amnesty International thathe saw 15 pick-up trucksarrivingat the universityfull ofNISS agents armed with AK47 rifles and pistols, who thenstartedshooting indiscriminatelyatthe crowd.

Last month,security officersbeat up and fired tear gas at students at the same university, injuring 15,duringa peacefuldemonstrationagainst poorservicedelivery. They arrestedsevenothers.

Background

The University ofKordofanCouncil of Deans issued a statement on 19 Aprilexpressing regret fortheviolent incidentand acknowledgingAbubaker'sdeath.However, itmade no mention ofinvolvement of NISS agents. Instead,describedthe incident as clashes between two rival students groups around the union elections.

Amnesty International has documented an intense and sustained crackdown by the police and security forces since 2012 on the activities of students in universities across Sudan.Over this period scores of protestors have been killed,injuredor detained, sometimesincommunicado.

Since Januarythis year, anumber ofcases ofexcessive use of forceagainst students have beenreportedat El-GeneinaUniversity in West DarfurState, University ofBakhitElRhidain White NileState, University ofKordofan,Al-ZaiemAl-Azhariin Khartoum Northand the University of Khartoum. One student was killedat El-GeneinaUniversity,and dozens of students were arrested.