Sudan’s interior minister, Ahmed Bilal, yesterday announced that the state police forces “fully support” the country’s president Omar Al-Bashir.
“We announce our full support for Bashir,” Bilal said during a meeting with Bashir and the police commanders in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
He stressed that the ministry would stop “those trying to use the economic situation to inflame sedition.”
“The only way to change power is through elections, not protests,” Bilal noted, adding: “There will be no way to chaos.”
The Sudanese official pointed out the government was working on improving the “current economic situation,” warning that it would not allow what he described as “igniting sedition.”
On his part, the police director general, Al-Tayeb Babikir Ali, said that the protests were “destruction of Sudan’s properties,” adding that the state security forces were pursuing “criminals who used protests to commit robbery and theft.”
The move was the first since the start of Sudan’s nationwide demonstrations on 19 December, which have been staged against price hikes, inflation and a double in the cost of bread. Official estimates put the death toll from the protests at say 19, but opposition groups say that at least 40 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.
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.