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Sudanese man sets himself alight protesting against Al-Bashir

February 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir [DonellMc/Twitter]

A Sudanese man nearly died when he set fire to himself in protest against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

The man was standing near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum last week where he shouted “I am Sudanese and Al-Bashir is a dictator,” before attempting suicide.

The self-immolation act, famously used by Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi igniting the Arab Spring in 2010 and ousting long-time leader Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali, is the latest in a string of protests against the Sudanese government but the first such act of its kind in the country.

Read: Sudanese police finds explosive material in apartment after blast

 The 31-year-old man is believed to have poured gasoline on himself before setting himself alight with witnesses rushing to extinguish the flames. Police then transported the critical patient to hospital to be treated.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and genocide in the country ravished by conflict and the harsh repression of those opposed to his rule.

Silencing opposition Late last year, Al-Bashir warned that we would brutally crush anti-government protests in reply to opposition activists that had called for a nationwide strike against the government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies causing a raise in prices for goods including medicines.

The warning was in nod to the bloody crackdown on demonstrators by government forces in 2013 against opposition protests in which around 200 people were killed, according to rights groups.

Read: No going back from lifting US sanctions on Sudan, insists minister

After relative calm following the 2005 peace deal which ended the second civil war in the country between the Sudanese government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement rebels, fighting broke out again in the lead-up to South Sudan independence on 9 July 2011.

The conflict has been mixed up with the War in Darfur, where in November 2011 the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement rebels – North (SPLM-N) rebels established a loose alliance with Darfuri rebels, who call themselves the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

Since October 2014, around two million people have been affected by the conflict, with more than 500,000 displaced and 250,000 forced to flee to South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Fighting intensified in January 2015, when Al-Bashir’s government tried to regain control of opposition-held territory ahead of April 2015 general elections.