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Sudanese Students Drop Books for Guns

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Sudanese Students Sent to the ‘Slaughterhouse’

To ensure that student jihadists do not neglect their studies, the union’s Jihadist Unit has even negotiated with universities to create a special examination timetable.

The spokesman of the Ministry of Higher Education, Osama Mohamed Awadh, told reporters the ministry fully supports the mobilisation efforts in universities and “urges students to go on jihad, which is a duty and a necessity”.

“If young people wish to defend their homeland, then we must not go against their wishes,” Awadh said.

Those who enroll in the “mujahideen” or PDF without having yet completed the military service required by the Sudanese government are sent to PDF training camps for a minimum period of two weeks. “We learn how to use Kalachnikovs … and RPGs,” said Ehemir.

Those who did their military service are not required to undergo extra training, which means some can be sent to the front-line without having fired a weapon in years.

Yet Ehemir said he believes that dangerous incidents caused by poor training are infrequent. “Once you’re there, you learn. It’s very easy to shoot someone. If I gave you a gun, right here and now, you could kill me,” he said with a laugh.

The regular army, which is stretched on many fronts, needs reinforcements on the new battleground in North Kordofan province and the northern part of South Kordofan.

But for Professor Mohammed, deploying undertrained students is “a terrible waste”.

“The rebels are excellent fighters with better knowledge of the terrain. Only the Janjaweed mercenaries could wipe them out, but they have long disbanded and grown hostile to the government,” he said.

On the field, the “mujahidin” and PDF often conduct assaults before the regular army – causing the death toll among militiamen to often be much higher than that of the Sudanese Armed Forces.

“The army dislikes the PDF and “mujahidin”, which they consider unruly mercenaries,” explained Mohammed. “So they send them in as bait, and then finish off the work. Basically, our students are sent to the slaughterhouse.”

The Sudanese military did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Four of Ehemir’s close friends were killed in Abu Kershola. “Wagid was shot right in front of me. He was a very good person, and was about to graduate this year. I am so sad about him.”

For a moment, Ehemir’s features soften and he looks again like the young man who brought in the pancakes. A moment later, however, he is adamant about his cause. “If they need me again, I will go back,” he said.

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