Police used batons and tear gas to disperse fresh anti-government protests in western Sudan while security forces staged a crackdown to thwart "riots" in the east, newspapers reported Tuesday.
In the fifth reported protest to turn violent in eight days, police in Nyala, western Sudan, broke up a student march protesting the detention of 17 opposition officials for alleged involvement in earlier demonstrations.
The detained officials belonged to the opposition People's National Congress (PNC), a breakaway faction of the ruling National Congress party, the independent As-Sahafi Ad-Dawli paper reported.
"The situation in Nyala town is tense and explosive despite the fact that the security authorities are now in control," the paper quoted a witness as saying.
First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha accused the PNC of Islamic ideologue Hassan al-Turabi of fomenting the recent wave of unrest and warned the opposition group of severe repercussions, another paper, As-Sahafa, said.
As-Sahafi Ad-Dawli said the protest was sparked by students of Nyala University who marched to the market where they were joined by town dwellers, including relatives of the detainees.
They were dispersed by the police.
The newspaper said there were no casualties but added that the authorities had seized a number of weapons in one Nyala neighborhood.
The authorities were intensively inspecting neighborhoods and motorcars; shops and the market were closed down while the town itself was blocked and travelers were unable to leave or enter, the paper said.
Meanwhile in the eastern town of Gedaref, the security authorities were reported to have staged a crackdown to abort a plot to stir up more riots.
As-Sahafa quoted Deputy Gedaref State Governor Mubarak Munir Haju as saying the authorities had arrested some people possessing documents and a plan to "conduct subversion and riots" in some strategic places in the town.
Other sources said an unidentified person was arrested with a hand grenade heading towards the town's power station, the paper reported.
First Vice President Taha publicly accused the PNC of inciting the recent riots with the aim of delaying presidential and legislative elections scheduled for next October, As-Sahafa reported.
"The aim of those riots is to delay the elections but the People's Congress will be disappointed as the elections will be held on time," Taha was quoted as telling a rally in Obeid, central Sudan.
He warned that the government would deal with the PNC severely, saying they "will no longer keep patient and tolerant and will strike hard."
"We have issued stern orders which we did not want to resort to but they have crossed the red line, and they have only themselves to blame," Taha said.
Since September 11, two riots reported to have been linked to forcible military recruitment broke out while two other protests, over the government's failure to provide education and other services, turned violent -- KHARTOUM (AFP)
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