ABU DHABI // An Abu Dhabi-born pharmacist who was shot dead in Khartoum on Friday has been described as an energetic and peaceful man by his childhood friends.
Dr Salah El Sanhory, 29, a Sudanese national who lived in Mussaffah, was alleged to have been killed by a security official during a protest in the north African capital.
Demonstrations began in Khartoum last Monday after the president, Omar Hassan Al Bashir, announced the lifting of fuel subsidies.
According to Dr El Sanhory’s close friends in Abu Dhabi and activists in Khartoum, he was hit by gunshot in the chest while filming protesters congregating in the Burri district of the city.
“What I was told was that as people in the neighbourhood gathered, security personnel spoke to them asking them to disperse. Dr Salah responded by filming the gathering to prove the peaceful actions of the protestors before security clamped down,” said Ali Abu Agla, a childhood friend in Abu Dhabi.
Dr El Sanhory died on street 60 in Khartoum, where many government institutions are based. He was buried in the city.
“Over 2,000 people attended Dr El Sanhory’s funeral on Saturday,” said an activist, Maha El Sanossi.
Mr Abu Agla said that as a chid Dr El Sanhory attended the Imam Muslim primary school.
“We graduated from the Othman Ibn Affan secondary school which was renamed on our graduation year to the Sir Baniyas secondary school,” he said.
El Taher Al Shafei, a long-time friend who grew up with Dr El Sanhory, said he was a peaceful and shrewd individual who loved football.
“We always teased him because he never left anyone upset,” he said. “He would stop and talk to random strangers in the street who seemed to be upset, just to cheer them up,” he added.
An acquaintance of Dr El Sanhory, Abu Dhabi resident Abdel Latif Saeed, said that he often met him on the football pitch when they were at high school. “He used to come all the way from Mussaffah to play with us.”
Mr Abu Agla said that Dr El Sanhory studied pharmacy in Pakistan at Sindh University. “Salah graduated two years ago and was travelling between here [Abu Dhabi] and Sudan while completing his training,” he said.
Mr El Shafei said: “We were with the family [in Abu Dhabi] on Thursday and his mother was telling us that he had six months left [to go in his training] and will be visiting during the Eid holiday.”
He said that Dr El Sanhory’s family live in Abu Dhabi and his mother is a Sudanese tawb designer, referring to the national dress for women.
“My dad and his dad were both in the [UAE] army together and after his dad retired, he set up the tawb business with his mother in Abu Dhabi and Mussaffah,” Mr El Shafei said.
On Saturday, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, urged the Sudanese government to exercise restraint in dealing with protests after days of unrest in which dozens of people died.
In a statement carried on the state news agency Wam, Dr Gargash said: “The UAE also emphasises the need to ensure the preservation of the lives of civilians so as to preserve the stability of the state and the society of Sudan.”
Activists claim that there have been at least 50 deaths in the protests. Authorities say 33 people have died.