Eastern Sudanese delegation refused entry into Eritrea for conference
At the Laffa border crossing in Kassala yesterday, the Sudanese authorities prevented a high-profile delegation from eastern Sudan from entering Eritrea to participate in a forum on eastern Sudanese issues.
The delegation included more than one hundred people representing native administration leaders from various eastern Sudanese tribes.
They were invited by the Eritrean government as part of its initiative to resolve the recurring disputes among the eastern Sudanese communities. They would participate in a forum sponsored by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
A source told Radio Dabanga that the authorities at the crossing detained the delegation for hours before allowing it to briefly cross the border to greet the Eritrean delegation that came to receive them.
The members of the delegation did not have an entry visa for Eritrea. Border officials claimed that they did not receive permission from Khartoum to allow the eastern Sudan delegation to pass the border without entry visas.
The delegation included prominent native administration leaders, most notably Nazir* Sayed El Amin Tirik, head of the Hadendowa Beja clan and chairman of the High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains, and El Ameen Dawoud, head of the Popular Front for Liberation and Justice and a representative of the Nazir of the Beni Amer clan.
The Beja are a group of nomadic tribes, occupying mountain country between the Red Sea and the Nile River. Their territory stretches from south-eastern Egypt through Sudan into Eritrea. Their relationship with the Sudanese authorities is characterised by disputes and protests and they have consistently fought for more rights to self-determination in the region.
Earlier this week, the High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains withdrew the Eastern Sudan track from the government’s Supreme Committee for Addressing the Situation in Eastern Sudan, headed by Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo who is the Deputy-Chair of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces and was involved in the October 25 military coup.
The Beja Nazirs called on all eastern Sudanese “to return to the founding platform and to stay away from government officers and donations that belittle the issue of the Beja people”.
* A nazir is a state-appointed administrative chief of a tribe, according to the native administration system in Sudan