SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 31, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Zalingei

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Sudan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 31, 2021, Central Darfur State Security forces shot live ammunition at University of Zalingei (UZ) students participating in a protest in front of the former United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) site, killing one student and injuring several others.

On May 7, 2021, the UNAMID handed over its site to the government of Sudan with the understanding that the site would be used by UZ for student housing. At the protest, students demanded that the gates to the former UNAMID site be opened. As students attempted to enter the former UNAMID site, security forces opened fire at them. Students then marched to the offices of the government of Central Darfur to meet with governor Adeeb Abdelrahma. Abdelrahma reportedly refused to meet with the students. Some students reportedly set vehicles and tires on fire and security forces continued to shoot at students in front of the government building. Ezzaldin Omar Moussa, a second-year student of technology, was killed and at least four other students were hospitalized.   

UZ closed indefinitely in response to the violence and ordered students to vacate their dorms. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of live ammunition and the death of a student during a student protest, and offers condolences to the family and colleagues of the deceased student. While state authorities have a responsibility to maintain order and security, they also have an obligation to ensure that their actions are proportionate to the situation, do not endanger protesters, and are not undertaken to restrict nonviolent expressive activity. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violence during protests undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).