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BABANUSA - 8 Mar 2013

Darfur students stage protest in W. Kordofan

Darfur university students began a strike last Monday at El Salam University in western Kordofan against the institution’s orders that they must pay tuition fees.

According to the Doha and Abuja peace agreements, Darfuri students are exempted from paying for their undergraduate studies at Sudanese universities.

One of the protesters said they began the sit-in because the University of El Salam in Babanusa, South Kordofan, is asking first level students to pay 500 Sudanese pounds in fees and second levels to pay 400 (respectively around 90 and 113 USD).

In addition, the administration is requiring undergraduates from Darfur to pay a 140 pound (31 USD) registration fee, a rule they also dispute.

The university told protesting students it had not been informed of any decision by the ministry of higher education or from the president exempting them from paying tuition fees.

Students are calling upon the ministry of higher education and the Darfur Regional Authority to ensure they do not have to pay these fees, as is stated in the Doha and Abuja agreements.

Last year university students from Darfur staged several protests around Sudan staged against the payment of fees.

In December 2012 four students who reportedly took part in such demonstrations at the Gezira University in eastern Sudan were found dead in a drainage canal. The Sudanese police said the students died from drowning.

The deaths of the four students led to more protests, especially in Khartoum, with hundreds of undergraduates taking to the streets of the Sudanese capital condemning the alleged killings.

Photo: Students demonstrate outside the Zalingei University, Central Darfur (Albert González Farran/ UNAMID)

Related: Students demand prosecution of alleged murderers (19 December 2012)