The head of the Beja Optical Council and the Independent Counties in eastern Sudan, Muhammad Turk, said that he did not mind holding a meeting with Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, but stipulated that “the government should be dissolved first” and “the formation of a government of national competencies, as stipulated in the constitutional document.”
In an interview with Al-Hurra, Turk welcomed the government’s formation of a committee to solve the crisis in the east, but refused that “this committee should include the Minister of Prime Minister Affairs, the political advisor to (Prime Minister Abdullah) Hamdok, or the leaders of the Revolutionary Front.”
He stressed the continuation of the field escalation in eastern Sudan, to include national roads, vital institutions and ports.
He reiterated his rejection of statements attributed to government officials that the closure of the ports led to a shortage of vital medicines, explaining that “the decision to prevent vehicles from crossing, does not include trucks transporting food and humanitarian supplies.”
For his part, the rapporteur of the Supreme Council, Abdullah Obshar, said in a Facebook post that “no one can impose the eastern path on Beja.”
With regard to the file of “ex-combatants affiliated with the Beja Congress forces,” Obchar said that “the previous government did not fulfill its promise to absorb them into the civil service and to entrust them with productive projects, and even those who were integrated into the regular forces were dispensed with most of them later.”
On the ground, the Council published a video on its official Facebook page, from Port Sudan port, showing trucks entering the port to transport containers of medical supplies, estimated at more than 60 containers, to the states of Sudan.
Major General Othman Al-Baqer, a leader in the Supreme Council of the Beja and the Independent Al-Amoudiya, said last Monday that the council will announce the “Beja state” independent of Sudan after 10 days.
He added, in a statement carried by Al-Hurra correspondent, that “any civil escalation in dealing with Khartoum has been bypassed and the transition to revolutionary escalation.”
The council announced “more escalation and closing the rest of the ports, entrances and exits to the east, and completely tightening the closure, as a result of the government’s ignoring their demands and not responding to them, despite the arrival of the last delegation headed by a member of the Sovereign Council, Shams El-Din Kabbashi, to Port Sudan and receiving their list of demands.”
“We were expecting a response from the center (Khartoum), but the government did not respond to us, and no party contacted us,” said Obchar.
The Sudanese Transitional Council of Ministers had confirmed in a previous statement that the issue of the east of the country is a “just issue and a top national priority, and that resolving the file is primarily a political solution.”
The government warned of “the consequences of closing Port Sudan’s port and national roads, which would disrupt the country’s development path and harm the interests of all.”
The government called on citizens “to refrain from protest methods that harm millions,” stressing that “dialogue is the most effective way to obtain rights.”
Eastern Sudan includes three states: the Red Sea, Kassala, and Gedaref. It is considered strategic because it borders Eritrea, Egypt and Ethiopia, and has a coastline on the Red Sea about 500 km long, and there are oil ports on it.
The region also includes five rivers and more than three and a half million hectares of agricultural land.
These resources are important components of a country suffering from a crumbling economy as a result of mismanagement and sanctions during the era of ousted President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted following a popular revolution in 2019.