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Sudan announces cancelation of over 3,500 Bashir-era passports for foreign residents

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Sudan's Sovereign Council chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan speaks to reporters in Khartoum, Sudan, on 26 September 2020. (Via AFP)

Sudan’s Interior Ministry says the country’s interim authorities have canceled more than 3,500 passports issued to foreign residents by Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry announced that Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on the ministry’s recommendation, has decided to cancel Sudanese citizenship of 3,548 naturalized residents.

“This decision was taken in the light of negative medical or security reports about the individuals concerned or because, in some cases, they obtained citizenship without meeting the necessary conditions,” the tweet read, according to AFP.

Sudanese media reported that the great majority of those affected are citizens of Arab countries, particularly Syria, which has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to estimates, 150,000 Syrians currently reside in Sudan.

The Sudanese Interior Ministry also announced that Syrians will now need to get visas in advance rather on arrival to enter Sudan, a decision that will restrict Syrian nationals’ access to a relatively easy and safe location.

Asser Khattab, a Syrian refugee and journalist, lamented the decision, saying it harms those who are in desperate need of getting out of the war-torn country.

“This is important: Although Sudan isn't Syrians' dream destination, but over the past few years it became the go-to country for those who don't have a visa to go anywhere and yet desperately need to get out of Syria,” Khattab said via Twitter on Wednesday.

The news comes as fighting in the Tigray region of neighboring Ethiopia has driven tens of thousands of refugees into Sudan, while thousands have been killed so far in clashes that began on November 4 between the Ethiopian government and those loyal to the leadership of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

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