Sudanese are drunk on freedom

Sit in for army headquarters

Looking worried Abelmonim stands with his two young daughters among the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in front of the military complex in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. “My daughters forced me to come here,” he says. “They want to experience the revolution.” The girls, in traditional pink robes only showing part of their faces, giggle amusingly. The power struggle between the civilians and the soldiers who overthrew dictator Bashir earlier April is continuing. And with that also this sit-in. “Dad, can we come again tomorrow,” the daughters ask.

Further up in the crowd, anger strikes among a group of women in tight pants. They want an immediate transfer of the military’s power to the civilians. They clench their fists, turn to the Department of Defense and chant, “We won’t let the army steal the revolution.” They turn their anger against military ruler Abdel-Fattah Burhan. Until recently, the demonstrators thought that he would swiftly transfer power to the citizens, but that has not happened yet. The military council summoned protesters, who have been participating in this sit-in since the beginning of April, to clear the field and clear the roads ‘immediately’.

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Hunted down after leaving al-Shabaab

Somali refugees Photo Petterik Wiggers

Abdul (35 years old) can no longer sit still. He was a fighter once in one of the most brutal terrorist groups in the world. “Al-Shabaab messed up my life. My head, my heart, my chances. Everything.”

Abdul, who for safety reasons changed his name, constantly fiddles with his breast pocket. Every warrior from the Somali terrorist group keeps a grenade there to blow himself up in case of capture. “I always feared getting stuck behind a branch and accidentally blowing myself up.”

Abdul is Kenyan and was recruited in the Majengo slum of the Kenyan capital Nairobi by al-Shabaab in 2011 to fight in Somalia. “I wanted employment and the recruiter promised me a job as a driver.” Hundreds of Kenyans have been traveling to Somalia in recent years, from the Kenyan coastal strip and from the ghettos in Nairobi.

About a quarter of the Kenyan population is Muslim and lives mainly on the coast and in the poor lowlands that extend to the border with Somalia. Al-Shabaab controls territory in Central and Southern Somalia and set up a network of cells in Kenya. The terror group recruits poor young people in Kenya and offers them a salary. When they die, their families receive $ 500 and the deceased awaits 72 virgins in heaven.

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