One dead in Sudan protests over oil price hikes

One dead in Sudan protests over oil price hikes

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a press conference in Khartoum late on September 22, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir speaks during a press conference in Khartoum late on September 22, 2013.
(AFP Photo)

AFP Unknown gunmen shot dead a demonstrator during protests in central Sudan against a steep hike in oil prices, police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Wad Madani in Al-Jazeera state on Monday after the government announced price hikes following the lifting of oil subsidies, witnesses said.

In the evening, demonstrators began pelting passing cars with stones and shots were fired from one vehicle, killing 23-year-old Ahmed Mohammed, the statement said.

The assailants fled after the shooting, it added, giving no further details.

Oil prices at the pump have shot up to 20.8 Sudanese pounds ($4.71) a gallon from 12.5 pounds ($2.83), while diesel has risen from 8.5 pounds a gallon to 13.9 pounds.

President Omar al-Bashir said Sunday that subsidies on petroleum products had reached “a level that is dangerous for the economy,” with inflation now running at 40 percent.

Anti-regime demonstrations spread last year after Bashir announced similar austerity measures including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel.

On Monday anti-riot police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators in Wad Madani, witnesses said, adding that around 400 students took part in the protests.

Demonstrations against the rise in oil prices were also reported in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city.

Sudan lost billions of dollars in oil receipts when South Sudan gained independence two years ago, taking with it about 75 percent of the formerly united country’s crude production.

Since then Sudan has been plagued by inflation, a weakened currency and a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports

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