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Queues at petrol stations as fuel shortages hit Khartoum

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | Residents queued for hours outside fuel stations in Khartoum on Wednesday as an acute shortage of petrol and diesel hit the Sudanese capital.

The drop in supplies came on top of rising food and electricity prices that led to sporadic anti-government protests in January.

Long queues of vehicles were seen outside several petrol stations in districts of Khartoum. Pictures of similar queues from outside of the capital were being spread on social media.

The shortage of fuel began last week in Khartoum and has only grown since, residents said.

“We have been going to fuel stations in the night and waiting for hours and hours,” said Mohamed Babikir, a bus driver.

“This has affected our work as we are now sleeping during the day when we actually need to work. Our income has drastically reduced because of this.”

Officials denied there was any drop in supplies and insisted that distributors had received deliveries.

“There is no shortage of fuel and in fact we have been supplying double the usual amount to wholesalers,” the ministry of oil said in a statement late Tuesday, adding that four ships loaded with fuel were being unloaded at Port Sudan and two more were waiting to be unloaded.

But fuel station managers said they were receiving less.

“Since a week we have been receiving 5,000 gallons of diesel and 3,000 gallons of petrol, almost half of our usual quota,” said Yasir Mohamed, manager of a petrol station in Khartoum.

“What we are getting now is sold within hours.”

Fuel shortages also hit Khartoum in 2016, but the latest round comes as the economy continues to suffer from surging inflation that reached 53 percent in January.

Sporadic protests erupted in Khartoum and some other parts of Sudan in January on the back of rising food prices, but the rallies were quickly curbed by security forces.

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