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No retreat on Sudan fuel price rise

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Sudan will not reverse its decision to hike fuel prices despite days of deadly protests and criticism from within the ruling party, the information minister told AFP on Sunday.

"No, it is not possible at all. This is the only way out," Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said in a telephone interview.

The near-doubling of petrol and diesel prices last Monday sparked the worst unrest in the 24-year history of President Omar al-Bashir's regime.

Authorities say 33 people have died over the past week, but activists and international human rights groups say at least 50 have been gunned down, mostly in greater Khartoum.

Bilal said authorities had to intervene when crowds turned violent.

"This is not (a) demonstration," he said. "They attacked the gas stations. They burned about 21."

Bilal said the government knew "riots" would occur if the cost of fuel went up but the reduction of subsidies on petroleum will save billions of dollars.

"Our economy cannot tolerate such support," he said. "We have to carry on. We know it is a bit heavy for the people."

it/hkb

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130929/no-retreat-sudan-fuel-price-rise-0