Protest at funeral of "tortured" Darfur student

Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:27pm GMT

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Armed riot police surrounded hundreds of protesters at the funeral of a Darfuri student who colleagues said was tortured and killed by Sudanese authorities in a case that has sparked tensions ahead of elections.

Sudanese security services have denied any involvement in the death of Mohamed Musa, 23, who fellow students told Reuters was abducted in Khartoum on Wednesday and later found dead.

More than 1,000 Darfuris, students and politicians, including at least two presidential candidates, gathered at the funeral in the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman on Monday morning chanting and waving banners, said Reuters witnesses.

Scores of armed riot police and security officers surrounded the family home while relatives sat inside with the body.

"I have lost my son ... I want justice from the government, justice for my son," Musa's father Musa Abdullah Bahar al Din told Reuters, breaking down in tears.

The funeral comes days after the start of campaigning in Sudan's first multiparty presidential and legislative elections in almost a quarter of a century, due in April.

Sudan's seven-year Darfur conflict, and the powers of Sudan's extensive security services, have become central issues in the election campaign that sets Sudan's sitting president Omar Hassan al-Bashir against 11 other candidates.

Presidential candidate Yasir Arman was greeted with chants of "Yasir for change" as he arrived at the house with other candidates from his party, the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

"This crime (Musa's killing) wasn't committed in a far village in the rural areas of Darfur. It was in the heart of the capital, a few kilometres from the (president's) palace ... It needs to be investigated," Arman told Reuters after the funeral.   Continued...

<p>Sudanese students shout using a public address system during a demonstration in the streets of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum April 2, 2005. REUTERS</p>
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