A video showing the dean of a prominent Sudanese women’s university beating female students protesting against high food prices has gone viral, sparking outrage on social media Thursday.
The footage showed Qassim Badri, dean of Khartoum-based Ahfad University for Women, walking into a crowd of female students on campus and slapping one and beating another repeatedly.
More students then surrounded him, with one even hitting him as others shouted slogans with their hands raised, the video showed.
The incident occurred on Wednesday when the students were demonstrating against high prices of food items sold at a cafeteria on campus.
The video went viral after students and activists uploaded it on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, sparking an outburst of anger against Badri, himself an advocator of women’s rights in Sudan.
“Qassim Badri must apologise in a press conference and clarify what exactly happened,” wrote women’s rights activist Amal Habbani on her Facebook page.
“This campaign is also an attempt to create awareness about violence against women.”
Badri hails from a prominent family known for pioneering women’s education in Sudan.
The Badri family is credited with starting the country’s first private school for girls decades ago before it launched Ahfad University, which has gained respect not only in Sudan but also abroad.
“The video tells only one side of the story,” family member Balkis Badri, a professor at the university, told AFP.
She said the incident occurred when the dean approached the students to talk to them as some protesters called for setting university buildings on fire.
“He was trying to calm them down when one student who had a stone in her hand kicked him,” she said.
“It was this student he went after and beat her. He later apologised to her and even kissed her head but the video does not show this.”
He even told the students to stop eating from the cafeteria if it was too expensive as the university does not own the eatery, she said.
Sporadic protests have erupted in some parts of Sudan since last week against soaring prices of bread and other food items.
On Sunday, a student was killed in a protest in war-torn Darfur.