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Sudan Cracks Down on Black Market

August 23, 1988

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Sudan decreed new regulations to crack down on black market dealers who have inflated prices after the worst floods in the country’s history, the official Sudanese radio reported.

Omdurman radio quoted Maj. Gen. Mohammed el-Fateh Abdoun, mayor of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, as saying Monday night that food wholesalers and retailers were required to report the extent of their stock to authorities within 48 hours.

He said merchants dealing in cement, wood, zinc and iron should provide a similar inventory within a week. He said offenders would be tried.

″Worse than the natural disasters are the moral disasters which have prompted some citizens to exploit the bad situation as a means for unlawful riches,″ Abdoun was quoted as saying. The radio broadcast was monitored in London.

Torrential rains Aug. 4-5 caused floods that left 91 people dead and 1.5 million Sudanese homeless. Damage has been estimated at $200 million.

Sudan also faces the annual flood of the Nile River. The river already has started overflowing in central Sudan and areas south of Khartoum.

″All of a sudden, some essential commodities have disappeared from the markets despite the fact that available data indicate their abundance,″ Abdoun was quoted as saying.

″Therefore, we have decided to reinforce the law until we restore to the state its respect and deter those who tamper with essential food,″ he said.

Abdoun noted that the absence of supervision and the disintegration of local authority after the floods had contributed to the situation.

He urged Sudanese citizens to report on merchants who hoard supplies, saying that informers will be awarded 10 percent of the quantity of the goods reported.

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