Motorcycles in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, and surrounding areas will no longer be able to carry passengers a move intended to curb a rise in armed robberies committed by bikers.
The order was issued by acting governor of Khartoum state and gives police the authority to stop bikes disobeying the ban on passengers.
First time offenders face potential penalties of two months in jail or a fine of 100,000 Sudanese pounds ($225, £175) or both penalties.
Repeat offenders would face up to four months in jail and a fine of $1,120), third time offenders risk a year in jail and the confiscation of their motorcycles.
The new measures have been introduced to tackle what has become known as the “long nines” phenomenon – referring to motorbikes which carry multiple armed men aboard.
They are often operate in gangs and are believed to be behind a wave of crime in the past year that has become worse since last October’s coup.
Some believe the gangs are part of a strategy being used by the junta to get people to stop anti-coup protests amid general lawlessness.
Commentators note the reluctance of the police to deal with the criminals in contrast to the zeal the security forces show in supressing the pro-democracy demonstrations.
But acting governor Ahmed Osman Hamza told the Sudanese news agency (Suna) that “high population density, the difficult economic situation and displacement” were behind the violence.
The ban on passengers is unlikely to go down well with the many Sudanese who have turned to motorbikes because of their affordability.
They depend on them for their daily transport and living, and in recent months they have been used as makeshift ambulances, ferrying injured anti-coup protesters to hospitals.
Though most agree more needs to be done about the gangs as some vigilantes have taken the law into their own hands and videos of lynchings have been shared on social media.