More deaths are being recorded from the ongoing agitations in Sudan over the rising cost of bread.
The leader of the opposition Sadiq al-Mahdi has claimed that 22 people have died from days of protests.
Mahdi who leads the Umma Party says “we condemn the armed repression of demonstrations.” He blames the death of the crackdown on agitations.
Sudan’s officials however dispute this death toll giving a lower number of causalities.
Thousands of Sudanese have been trooping to the streets in several towns to protest what they say is an excruciating economic hardship.
During these protests, there have been some level of violence from protesters.
Government spokesman Bashar Jumaa on Friday said the government “will not be lenient” with protesters getting violent and setting state buildings on fire.
Controversy over bread
Bread prices in the North Africa country are said to be astronomically higher as a result of the country’s economic challenges.
The protests were triggered after bread prices increased from one Sudanese pound ($0.02) to three Sudanese pounds ($0.063).
Bread prices have more than tripled since the start of this year after the government decided to stop importing wheat from overseas.
Officials had hoped the move would create competition between private companies importing wheat, and therefore act as a check on price rises – but a number of bakeries have since stopped production, citing a lack of flour.
This forced the government to increase flour subsidies by 40 per cent in November.
Economy in crisis
In October, Sudan sharply devalued its currency from 29 pounds to the dollar to 47.5 after a body of banks and money changers set the country’s exchange rate.
The move led to further price increases and a liquidity crunch, while the gap between the official and black market rates has continued to widen.
Meanwhile Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has reportedly called Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir offering to help.
Al Thani according to the Qatar’s state news agency QNA expressed his support for Sudan following days of anti-government protests.
A statement from President Bashir’s office said “During the call Sheikh Tamim declared that his country stood with Sudan and was ready to offer all that was necessary to help Sudan overcome this ordeal, stressing his keenness for the stability and security of Sudan.”