UPDATE: University of Khartoum officials have announced that classes will resume on 18 March.
Meanwhile, activist Taj Al Sir Gaafar has been released from detention.
Daria, a Sudanese journalist in Khartoum, writes for EA:
In the early morning hours of last Friday, 17 February, an estimated 1,000 police and security officers raided the dormitories of the University of Khartoum and arrested hundreds of students.
Students were beaten, electrocuted, and verbally abused as they were rounded up and pushed inside police trucks. No official reason was given for the raid. Some pro-regime newspapers reported that students were told to leave the premises for "maintenance", but many students believe that the crackdown was to pressure them into dismantling ongoing protests. The "maintenance" would turn the dorms into smaller units with tighter security, separating them from each other to prevent mass student organisation and mobilisation. Indeed, a student reported to me that this has already happened, with people allowed back into specific buildings after the alterations.
On 22 December, about 700 students from the university marched in a peaceful protest in solidarity with the month-old Manasir sit-in. The Manasir, an ethnic group from River Nile State in northern Sudan, are demonstratinng over their marginalisation and lack of compensation for damages and displacement caused by the Merowe Dam, a multi-billion dollar project built on Manasir land.
The Khartoum state police and security officials arrested more than 70 students, beating and robbing some in broad daylight and inside the dorms. Over the next week, about 16,000 students staged a sit-in protest over the police brutality and the lack of protection by University administration. They demanded that students were compensated and received medical treatment.
On 29 December, the Khartoum University administration suspended studies at the university until further notice. Over the next few days, student leaders were arrested. At least two youth activists instrumental in mobilising students --- Taj Al Sir Gaffar, a student at the University of Khartoum, and former student Muhammed Idris Jeddo --- remain in political detention.
After that, dorm students faced harassment by the administration, including cuts in electricity and water cuts, to pressure them into leaving. Many students from Khartoum state and neighbouring states returned to their families; however, students from distant places or from conflict zones refused to leave, citing high transportation expenses and lack of security.
Then the police struck last Friday. This is the testimony of a student living in the dorm (we have withheld his name for his safety):
At 3:30 am, we were sleeping at Alasseel dorms, when a noise mixed with our disturbing dreams. The noise got louder and then turned into a reality.
I woke up to see, through the broken window to my right, shadows of big figures. After a while, I realised they were police officers who apparently came to repeat that scary movie (of 22 December) so we do not forget.
I woke up my roommates only to see another scene from that movie, as an army of cops entered the dorms. In panic we decided to get out, but as we attempted to do that we discovered this raid is organised and well planned. There was no entrance nor exit without a number of police as guards.
We went back to the room, as we could not think of a way out of this difficult situation. We could only wait for our unknown destiny. As we watched the Alrahad dorms a few metres away, with the beating, humiliation, and the threat of weapons --- knowing that is what awaits us --- we made several phone calls to students outside the dorms to let them know what is happening.
The sound was approaching us slowly until someone broke the door of our room. We were beaten and verbally abused as we were dragged out to find a large number of cops carrying knives and guns.
We were taken, under the threat of the weapons, to the space in front of Alasseel dorms to where the inhabitants of the Alrahad dorms had been brought. We sat on the ground unable to comprehend what is happening to us. We were treated like prisoners of war, no, as rebels.
The breaking into dorm rooms continued, and they brought all the students to the open space, then practiced physical abuse and various types of psychological terror. They used electrical sticks and loaded their guns while saying, “We will take you to camps and you will never return to your homes.” They used offensive and racist words, the least offensive that I can repeat, “Are these the looks of students? You are tramps, all what you’re good at is drinking (alcohol). You nigger, are you claming to be a student?”
The ground floor rooms were turned into investigation rooms. Tthey took all of our info including phone numbers. We were then deported by trucks to different police stations of Khartoum state.