Gangs in Khartoum: A threat to societal peace?

A few days ago, the al-Kadaro suburb, north of Khartoum North, was witness to scuffles between what is colloquially referred to as the Niggers gangs – from the state of South Sudan – and citizens, which led to the death of two citizens from al-Kadaro and the burning of many settlements in retaliation.

Gangs have reportedly then  broken into homes and carried out their “vengeance”  before the police arrived 3 hours after the events.

Khartoum: AlTaghyeer: Sarah Taj al-Sir

According to sources in the region, Muhammad al-Jaili, was killed on March 6 by a group of unarmed people identified as South Sudanese after his phone was stolen.

The matter was entrusted to the competent authorities to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The Niggers gangs attacked and looted passer-bys in 25 Umm al-Qura street , which led to the death of another man from the area identified as Khater Jaili.

In retaliation, people from the area forcefully expelled all Southerners living there, burning their settlements down, and clearing the area of its inhabitants.

The citizens of al-Kadaro have long viewed the area, which extends along the railway line, as a place where liquor and all kinds of drugs were sold freely, and where passer-bys were frequently subjected to robbery.

The al-Kadaro Resistance Committees, in response to the incident, said that “what happened in al-Kadaro was a the removal of a bed of crime, and not what was falsely circulated by the media with the intention of misleading the Sudanese citizen.”

The committees’ statement said that there was no tribal fighting or security chaos as what had been reported, and urged the security authorities to deliver the murderers to justice as soon as possible, and to legalize the foreign presence in the country, in an effort to remove crime dens and gangs, which to them is the police’s main duty, not the citizen’s, from the Khartoum.

The retaliation that took place in al-Kadaro

Ahmed Seif El-Din Bakri, a citizen of al-Kadaro, told AlTaghyeer that the events surrounding the murders took place in the complete absence of the police, who arrived to the area  3 hours after the incident had taken place.

This immensely disappointed the families and friends of the victims, which led them to burning all abodes on the settlement belonging to those who they had suspected of having a hand in what happened.

Laxity or Inability

The theft of mobile phones and handbags has become a regular occurrence in the capital, with stories of crooks on motorbikes and Niggers gangs armed with machetes being rampant in light of the lax state of security witnessed in Khartoum.

The security forces’ inability to impose the law over criminals, as witnessed in al-Kadaro and other areas, prompted the citizens to resort to violent means to defend themselves.

The current lax security situation has blossomed in light of the impact of the economic deterioration and the living situation in the country, as well as the accompanying high unemployment rate.

Security expert Major General Abdel Hadi Abdel Basset attributed the escalation of the security chaos and the increase in the activity of gangs in Khartoum to the weakening of the security and intelligence apparatus from its security tools; represented by its Operations Authority.

He indicated to AlTaghyeer that the Operations Authority used to carry out nightwatch operations starting from 9 PM until Fajr prayers at dawn, on the lookout for potential criminal activity and dealing with it when found.

“The police failed to cover the areas left by the security apparatus, and the police itself has been weakened since the days of Hamdok’s government with random pension statements and the scaling of its companies, in addition to the hate speech promoted against it, and the release of 1500 hardcore criminals convicted in criminal cases on the pretext of the outbreak of the corona virus.”

Threatening Peace

The increasing number of crimes carried out by some gangs of foreigners has exacerbated concerns relating to threats to societal security and ethnic and social risks.

Major General Engineer Amin Ismail Mahjoub, expert in crisis studies and negotiation at the Center for National Studies, Khartoum, confirmed that Sudan suffers from lax security, which is in part due to the partial absence of the security forces and the emergence of criminal elements in the cities and peripheral capitals, where gangs appeared to fill this existing security gap.

Al-Kadaro resistance committees banner being raised at a protest.

This, to him, is represented in the displaced people who come over carrying psychological trauma due to the conflict in their areas, and groups of refugees from neighboring countries who arrived in Sudan after the emergence of conflicts in their countries.

He indicated that these people share a living with “family gangs” who live in the outskirts of villages and neighborhoods, who turned to form gangs in rejection of society and in rebellion against its values ​​that “did not allow them to realize their dreams” in light of the high unemployment rates and lack of employment opportunities.

These people, as he indicated, have specialized in stealing cars and their parts.

Mahgoub told AlTaghyeer that these three groups – those displaced, foreign refugees, and family gangs – are always referred to in a racist manner, where the perpetrators who are arrested for theft, kidnapping, or home burglary are branded as those belonging to “this particular race/ethnicity,” as what had happened in al-Kadaro.

He indicated that everyone had dealt with the incident in al-Kadaro with a “tribal mentality,” as hostile retaliatory actions were taken where homes of Southern Sudanese families were burned and the families themselves expelled from the area and areas adjacent to al-Kadaro such as Taiba, Al-Ahmadah.

Chaos that Begets Itself

Major General Mahjoub believes that hate speech and calls to violence have become the norm, and the intensity of hate speech has increased in social media and in neighborhood gatherings, in addition to incitement to violence and armament, and warned against the trend of chaos that begets chaos, which is expected to be followed by armed conflict and then civil war.

He pointed out that these are the three stages that the country will be going through if the state does not fulfill its duty.

“The basic principle in countries that have strategic, security plans is that security is their [the government’s] responsibility. They are the ones who discover intentions, anticipate crises, manage them, receive communications, and work to establish security,” Mahgoub said.

“We are facing specific challenges during the transitional period, represented by the political conflict, the presence armed movements both signed and unsigned to the Juba agreement, living problems, and insufficient wages,” he said, noting that some of these groups own weapons and military vehicles, are distributed in groups and commit crimes in uniform.

Some of these crimes however, are individual crimes, such as the ones where the perps use motorbikes.

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