Dehai News Ex-Security Official Sparks Tribal Crisis in Eastern Sudan

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Naval base soldiers in Port Sudan (AFP)
Naval base soldiers in Port Sudan (AFP)

Comments by a former high-ranking official in Sudan's security and intelligence service, questioning the legitimacy of certain tribal groups, have stirred tribal tensions in the country’s east.

Social, political, and civil groups have condemned these remarks as racist and accused backers of the former regime, including the Muslim Brotherhood, of trying to stoke unrest in the east amid the country's ongoing conflict.

Badr Al-Din Abdel Hakam, a retired brigadier and director of security in Kassala state, referred to specific tribal groups in eastern Sudan as refugees from a neighboring country, calling for their Sudanese citizenship to be revoked immediately.

These comments have angered social groups with significant populations in the eastern states (Red Sea, Kassala, and Gedaref).

Youth from affected tribes have held rallies in Port Sudan and Kassala, demanding legal action against the current security official, who is currently abroad, for his remarks questioning their Sudanese identity.

Sources close to the social sphere told Asharq Al-Awsat that the former security official’s remarks are closely tied to recent discussions held in Port Sudan, sponsored by the Sudanese military, regarding foreign presence and the definition of Sudanese identity.

They suggest that some tribes’ reluctance to join the army in its conflict against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) influenced this stance.

In essence, the official’s comments indirectly mirror the views of army supporters, who have initiated a social media campaign urging for the revocation of citizenship from groups that have shown little enthusiasm for joining the army.

These same sources cautioned that such remarks could reignite past tribal conflicts in the region, leading to casualties among tribal groups.

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