A video circulating on Sudanese social media of a university vice-chancellor purportedly beating his students has caused a massive controversy.
The video, apparently filmed on Wednesday, shows Professor Gasim Bedri of Al-Ahfad University for Women allegedly slapping female students attending the private education college.
Several eyewitness accounts by female students on social media said the girls were protesting at a rise in prices in the university’s canteen when Prof Bedri intervened and promised to resolve the situation.
The students started chanting anti-government slogans and wanted to take their campus demonstration to the street, but Prof Bedri, 72, apparently opposed the move and ordered the university’s gates closed, saying that it was his duty of care to ensure the safety of his students.
Other accounts suggest that he was aware of the presence of riot police and security personnel outside the campus.
It is not clear what happened next and what led him to allegedly strike his students.
On social media many defended Prof Bedri, while others criticised his attitude and called for him to resign.
The BBC’s efforts to contact Prof Bedri have been unsuccessful.
The professor has been leading the university, which is one of Sudan’s most progressive higher education institutes and a beacon for women rights, since 1982 when he became the dean.
The university’s origins date back to the early 1900s, when his grandfather, Sheikh Babiker Bedri, a Mahdist soldier and a champion for women’s education, opened the first school for girls in Sudan.