By Naba Mohiedeen October 17, 2019 04:00 PM
KHARTOUM – Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council recently ordered the closure of the country’s borders with the Central African Republic and Libya, citing security concerns. The order has been gradually implemented in the last three weeks.
However, some Sudanese say the decision is affecting business.
Spare parts trader Ahmed Bushara thinks reopening the borders would ease the country’s transportation crisis.
The current high price of transportation isn’t about the fuel shortages only, he says. Spare parts are a major element for cars. If the borders are open and trade is facilitated, he says, it’ll reflect positively on the car sector and spare parts.
Unlike Bushara, Noman Eisa has welcomed the measure, even though he once tried to migrate through Libya to Europe, only to return to Darfur.
Eisa says Libyan gangs and militias are a danger for Sudanese youth hoping to escape poverty and strife.
He says the closed borders are positive if they stop illegal migration, but he hopes the new government will deal with the people detained and lost in Libya, and handle the root cause of Sudanese youngsters leaving. In addition, he wants measures in place for legal migration.
The Sovereign Council decided to close the borders after a September clash between rival militias in Birau, Central African Republic, that left 23 people dead.
Council members cited reports that militiamen were sneaking into Sudan on their way to join other militias in Libya.
But political analyst Othman Mirghani thinks the council has both economic and security concerns.
The main smuggling of commodities is on the eastern borders not on the westerns ones, he says, but western borders have many security concerns, including weapon smuggling and armed troops entering the country from Libya and other countries that suffer from security issues.
Sudan is located on a widely-used migration route that links east and central Africa with the Mediterranean and Europe.
The unrest Sudan has seen before and since the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir led the European Union to suspend funds for migration control, allowing a greater number of migrants to enter the country. It remains to be seen whether the border closures will slow that flow.