Sudanese protesters against peace deal with rebel groups block roads, close key port

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Dozens of demonstrators in Sudan have blocked key roads and a crucial port in the country’s east in protest at parts of a peace deal with rebel groups, a protest leader said Monday.

Last year, several rebel groups signed a landmark accord with the transitional government which came to power shortly after the April 2019 ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

“We’ve blocked the (main) road connecting Port Sudan with the rest of the country since Friday as well as the main container and oil export terminals,” protest leader Sayed Abuamnah told AFP.

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Beja tribes people in eastern Sudan have criticised the fragile peace deal saying it does not represent them.

Port Sudan in the Red Sea state is the country’s main seaport and a vital trade hub for its crippled economy dependent on exports.

The protests come as Sudan grapples with deep economic woes left in the wake of al-Bashir’s ouster, whose three-decade iron-fisted rule was marked by prolonged US sanctions.

“The closure will not be lifted until our demands to nullify the parts about east Sudan in the peace deal are met,” Abuamnah added.

Aboud Sherbini, a port worker, confirmed the “port has completely shut down and the flow of imports and exports has stopped.”

Other witnesses from the restive eastern Qedaref state also told AFP that roads were blocked.

Abuamnah said protesters have called for the government’s dissolution and the formation of a non-partisan administration to lead the transition.

Similar protests in and around the port broke out last year over the October 2020 peace deal.

The government has yet to make a comment on the latest closure.

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