KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Riots broke out in a central Sudanese city amid a wave of unrest over the lifting of fuel subsidies that has left at least two people dead, the Sudanese media said Tuesday.
Witnesses, meanwhile, said Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who took to the streets in the capital Khartoum.
Protesters angry at the austerity measures chanted Tuesday against President Omar al-Bashir, who has ruled the country for more than two decades, according to the witnesses, who spoke anonymously by telephone for fear of reprisal.
The semiofficial Sudan Media Center quoted Mohammed al-Kamil Fadallah, acting governor of Gezira State south of Khartoum, as saying that a student and a commuter bus driver in their early 20s died in "recent rioting events" in the capital Wad Medani, without elaborating.
Fadallah said rioters set a number of public buildings on fire. Police on Tuesday described unrest that started in Khartoum's twin town of Omdurman as "limited riots" in which a number of private properties were burned down and shops looted, but blamed "criminal elements" for being behind them.
Sudan's Council of Ministers on Monday approved a subsidy lift which nearly doubled prices of gasoline and fuel.
Sudan's loss of its main oil-producing territory with the independence of South Sudan in 2011 was a punch to its fragile economy.
Last year, an initial attempt to cut subsidies of fuel and food sparked similar protests but were quelled by heavy crackdowns on protesters, activists and journalists.