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Nov 28, 2012
United States
Janjaweed, ghost squads and a divided nation: How Sudan's Bashir stays in power
Analysis by Yousra Elbagir and Nima Elbagir, CNN

(CNN)President Omar al-Bashir was addressing his top police officers on Sunday following days of unrest across Sudan. In a video disseminated by the state news agency SUNA, his words sounded remarkably conciliatory.

"It is the duty of the state to maintain security without abuse, and to implement internal security principles using the least possible force," Bashir told his officers. "The purpose is not to kill the people but the ultimate goal is to maintain the security and stability for the citizens."
The feed, provided by SUNA, cut off there, but Bashir's speech wasn't over.
In a video captured by the Turkish news agency Anadolu and currently making the rounds on Sudanese social media, he continued: "but sometimes -- as we said and as God himself said -- you have, in the exacting of penance, life. What is exacting penance? It is killing, it is execution, but God described it as life because it is a deterrence to others so we can maintain security." At the conclusion of his address, the President and his officers began to dance.

Sudan protests: President 'completely satisfied' with police despite brutality claims

But in Bashir's Sudan, executions are often a "deterrence" enacted without recourse to judge or jury. In the days since anti-government demonstrations began rippling across the country, there have been reports of dozens killed and hundreds more wounded. The fear is now that this toll is set to rise.
Bashir's speech was taken as a sign by protesters that he had declared open season on them on the eve of mass protests in the capital Khartoum on Monday.
At least 21 activists were released after being arrested in Khartoum for participating in Monday's demonstrations, a local journalist told CNN. While the total number of arrests remains unclear, activists report that more than 300 protesters were arrested.
The tactics and the language are not new. Bashir's plain-spoken colloquialisms, backed by recitations from the Quran as justification, are almost as famous as the Arab tribal dances he routinely does with his cane aloft at rallies across the country. They harken back to the early days of his regime, after he came to power in a military coup backed by Islamists in 1989, when he portrayed himself as a man of the people, if one not exactly chosen by them.

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