The country’s main port of call, Port Sudan, has been paralyzed for almost three weeks due to the protest and occupation by protesters mobilized by the High Council for the Tribes of Beja, chaired by Sayed Tirik, who represents six of the tribes of the northeastern region of the country.

The tribes that undertook the protest complain about the lack of attention of the authorities of the Transitional Government towards the northeastern region of the country, which they consider sacrificed by the Juba agreements of 2020, and put some conditions to the authorities in Khartoum to end the blockade of the port and roads connecting to the cargo terminals on the Red Sea.

Seyed Tirik, at the head of the Handendawa tribe, disputes the content of the Eastern Sudan Track contained in the Juba agreements, which, according to the Beja High Council delivers Eastern Sudan into the hands of regional and international actors motivated by mere speculative ambitions, with the risk of determining “a major demographic change in the region, which will threaten the sovereignty and national security of Sudan”.

Tirik’s requests to Khartoum institutions are extremely demanding and include the deposition of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, the cancellation of the Juba agreements and the suspension of all projects underway in the region, including those in the mining and agricultural sectors.

Requests unacceptable to the government, especially in view of the blockade of Port Sudan, which is causing the country a serious supply crisis, with shortages of medicines, food and fuel.

The crisis at the port of Port Sudan has fuelled numerous suspicions in the country’s capital, where for days the tribes of the High Council of Beja have been accused of being allied with Islamist forces close to the deposed dictator Omar al-Bashir, and of secretly plotting with units of the armed forces close to those who a few days ago tried to carry out a coup d’état.

The risk, at present, is that the intransigence in the conduct of the protest will lead to a crisis of such proportions as to force the government to use force, with the possibility of a degeneration of violence certainly not desirable in this difficult phase of transition in Sudanese politics.


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