Sudan's President, Jaafar Nimeiry attended the graduation of one hundred and seventy-six police officers in Khartoum last Thursday (4 August).
Sudan's President, Jaafar Nimeiry attended the graduation of one hundred and seventy-six police officers in Khartoum last Thursday (4 August). The new intake of police into Sudan's force comes at a time when hopes for internal political peace in Sudan are high. But Sudan is still anxious about the continuing battles between Eritrean secessionists and Ethiopian troops, and sees itself threatened by the recent border clashes between Libya and Egypt.
SYNOPSIS: President Nimeiry's presence at the graduation ceremony was achieved only after a quick drive from Khartoum airport. The President had been in Saudi Arabia, but seemed determined to attend the graduation if it was at all possible.
As the crowd of relatives, friends and well-wishers looked on, President Nimeiry inspected the guard of honour. Among the one hundred and forty-six new police officers, are four women.
But whether the new police officers were the best, or even if they were near the bottom of the class, there's little doubt they have a tough time ahead. In June, three policemen and a sergeant were killed when a group of about 20 men attacked a Sudanese police station near the Chad border. These young graduating police officers could find themselves trying to keep the peace on Sudan's other borders, especially that with Ethiopia. Sudan's relations with Ethiopia have deteriorated this year, following allegations that Sudan was aiding Eritrean secessionists in Ethiopia.
As the graduating officers took their oath of allegiance guerrillas of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front were reported to have captured the town of Saganeiti, forty-three miles (70 kilometres) south of the provincial Ethiopian capital of Asmara. The Sudan news agency said one thousand five hundred Ethiopian troops had been defending Saganeiti.
All that may seem a long way from the tasks of maintaining, law and order for the parading police graduates, but as the battles around Sudan's border threaten to draw closer, they could find themselves with many new and different duties.