HomeAfrica35 dead in Sudan after violence over sit-in protests;Govt scrapes deal and election in 9 months
35 dead in Sudan after violence over sit-in protests;Govt scrapes deal and election in 9 months
June 4, 2019
Sudanese security forces used live ammunition Monday to break up a sit-in
protest against military rule, killing at least 35 people and wounding hundreds
more, officials said.
The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, which is a member of
the opposition Sudanese Professionals Association, increased the death toll
from nine people, which it reported earlier, after an early morning attack by
Sudanese security forces outside of the Defense Ministry in the capital
Khartoum. Sudan’s military scraps deal with protest groups, calls for elections
within 9 months
Sudan’s ruling military council said on Tuesday it was canceling all
agreements with the main opposition coalition and called for elections within
nine months, following the worst violence since President Omar al-Bashir was
ousted in April.
Sudanese protesters use burning tyres to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country’s Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 3, 2019.
The decision by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) is likely to fuel
anger among protest leaders who have demanded preparations for elections during
a longer transitional period led by a civilian administration.
The TMC had been under both domestic and international pressure to hand over
power to civilians.
At least 35 people were killed when security forces stormed a protest camp
outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum on Monday amid heavy gunfire,
according to a group of doctors linked to the opposition. The group had earlier
said that at least 116 people were wounded.
The main protest organizers, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA),
accused the TMC of perpetrating “a massacre” as it broke up the camp, a charge
denied by the council.
TMC spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi said security forces
were pursuing “unruly elements” who had fled to the protest site and caused
The camp had become the focal point of pressure on the country’s military
rulers to hand over power to civilians.
Sudan has been rocked by unrest since December, when anger over rising bread
prices and cash shortages broke into sustained protests that culminated in the
armed forces moving to oust Bashir.
But talks between a coalition of protesters and opposition parties have
ground to a halt amid deep differences over who will lead a transition to
democracy that both sides had agreed will last for three years.
In a televised address in the early hours of Tuesday morning, TMC leader
Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said that the opposition coalition
was equally responsible for the delay in coming to a final agreement.
The TMC had decided to cancel all agreements with the protest groups and
call for elections within nine months, which he said will be organized under
regional and international supervision.
“Gaining legitimacy and a mandate does not come but through the ballot box,”
He also announced that a government would immediately be formed to run the
country until elections are held.
The protest organizers have not officially responded to Burhan’s decision.
They had earlier condemned the violence and vowed to escalate protests to force
the military rulers to hand over power to civilians.
Burhan said he regretted the violence that accompanied what he described as
“an operation to clean the Nile Street” and said that the violence will be
The operation drew condemnation from Europe, the United States and the
Sudan has been on a U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism since 1993
that denies the country access to financial markets and strangles its economy.
Washington lifted a 20-year trade embargo against Sudan in 2017 and was in
discussions to remove it from the sponsor of terrorism list when the military
stepped in on April 11 to depose Bashir, who ruled Sudan for 30 years.