KHARTOUM – Six people were killed on Tuesday during a demonstration sparked by high transport prices in Sudan's Darfur region, a state government spokeswoman said.
"According to reports we received, six people were killed," Bothina Mohmed Ahmed, of the South Darfur government, said.
She had no details of what killed the victims, and added that a number of people were also injured.
"The demonstration started because the students rejected the price of transport announced by the government," Ahmed said.
She added that "other groups", whom she did not identify, attacked government property during the demonstration.
"But now the situation is calm and under control," she said.
Nobody was allowed inside the city's hospital where a crowd had gathered outside, a witness said.
Police had earlier fired tear gas at the demonstrators scattered in groups around the main market, he said, adding that they threw stones at a state-run radio station and another government building, and erected crude roadblocks.
"I saw tyres burning in the street," he said.
Like other demonstrators in Sudan, they repeated a call made by Arab Spring protesters around the region: "The people want the fall of the regime."
Demonstrations in Sudan started on June 16 when University of Khartoum students voiced opposition to high food prices, starting the longest-running public challenge to the 23-year regime of President Omar al-Bashir.
After Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, scattered protests spread to include a cross-section of people, often in groups of 100 or 200, around the capital Khartoum and in other parts of Sudan.
Protests have dwindled during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began on July 20.
But a strike by public transport drivers upset over high fuel prices has added to the burden of Nyala residents.
The strike apparently triggered a protest on Monday by more than 200 students, which escalated on Tuesday, the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said.
"This has been happening on the main roads and in the main market area. There's been some damage to buildings," said UNAMID spokesman Christopher Cycmanick.
Banditry, inter-tribal fighting and clashes between rebel groups and government forces continue in Darfur although violence is much lower than at its peak in 2003 and 2004 after non-Arab tribes rose up against the Khartoum government.