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Sudan government to get tough with protesters
KHARTOUM, Sudan (Reuters) -- Sudan's Islamist-led government has decided to prosecute protesters who have staged sometimes violent demonstrations in several towns in the past week, an independent newspaper reported on Monday.
Al-Rai al-Aam said President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had called a cabinet meeting to hear a report by Interior Minister al-Hadi Abdalla on riots in al-Fasher and Port Sudan.
"The council of ministers directed the concerned quarters to take decisive measures to ensure the stability and safety of citizens and their belongings," the daily said.
It gave no details of the measures, but quoted Culture and Information Minister Ghazi Salah al-Din as saying legal action would be taken against "any person found to have been involved in the recent riots and sabotage in some of the states."
On Sunday, a secondary school pupil died and 15 people were hurt, including five policemen, in Kosti, 270 km (170 miles) south of Khartoum, in clashes between police and demonstrators, the pro-government Akhbar al-Youm newspaper reported.
Kosti Province Commissioner al-Tayeb Abdel-Rahman Mukhtar told the paper that demonstrators, mostly students, had burnt at least six vehicles and an Agriculture Ministry store, and had attacked the Agricultural Bank of Sudan and the Bank of Khartoum.
He said the protests had been planned because they began in six places at once after "plotters" spread rumors that compulsory national service personnel had killed four students. He said 15 people had been arrested.
Protests about school fees and shortages of water and electricity have swept several towns, including al-Fasher, Port Sudan, Nyala and el-Obeid, in the past eight days.
The government has blamed the opposition Popular National Congress party, headed by former Parliament Speaker Hassan al-Turabi, for instigating the unrest.
Turabi's party has denied any involvement and accuses the government of arresting 63 of its members across the country.
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