Protesters end blockade of Sudan port over peace deal

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FILE PHOTO: A bird flies over the convergence between the White Nile river and Blue Nile river in Khartoum, Sudan, February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A bird flies over the convergence between the White Nile river and Blue Nile river in Khartoum, Sudan, February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Sudan’s Red Sea port reopened Wednesday after a three-day blockade by protesters angry over a peace deal from which they say they were excluded.

Demonstrators from the Beja tribe last Sunday forced the closure of the docks and highway linking Port Sudan to the rest of the country.

The Beja say that representatives who signed the previous day’s deal with the government came from the rival Beni Amer tribe.

Port Sudan “reopened on Wednesday after discussions between representatives of the Supreme Council of the Beja and police”, the official Suna news agency reported.

The governor of Red Sea state, where the port is located, confirmed the reopening.

“We have reached a deal for the port to resume its activity,” said Abdallah Shankary, adding both parties had agreed “on procedures to implement the peace agreement in eastern Sudan”.

The protesters had lifted the blockade of the port highway on Tuesday.

The peace deal signed on October 3 was hailed by the international community as a key milestone to ending decades of war in Sudan.

Sudan’s east has experienced several violent clashes in recent months between rival ethnic groups jockeying for political posts.

The country is led by a transitional government which took power several months after the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

It is struggling to rebuild an economy beleaguered by decades of conflict and US sanctions.

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