Sudan military council use force to disperse sit-in protesters

Saul Bowman
June 4, 2019

The embassy said via Facebook that apparent attempts to move against the protest camp in the capital are "wrong" and that it holds the country's Transitional Military Council responsible for the attacks. "The Military Council bears full responsibility for this action and the worldwide community will hold it to account", he said in two tweets.

"Sudanese forces did not disperse the sit-in outside the army headquarters by force, but rather targeted a nearby area which has become a threat to the safety of citizens", TMC spokesman Lt Gen Shams al-Din Kabbashi told UAE-based Sky News Arabia TV channel.

"Some of the opposition leaders are asking the UN Security Council and the African Union to demand an immediate transfer of power from the Transitional Military Council to a democratic civilian government led by the Forces of Freedom and Change, as well as an immediate end to Sudan's internal wars", she continued.

By mid-day, security forces controlled almost the entire camp, pushing out protesters and sealing off the nearly one square mile area, two protesters said.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which spearheaded nationwide protests that started in December, said Monday's crackdown amounted to a "bloody massacre".

The camp has been the epicenter of a protest movement that first succeeded in forcing the overthrow of Sudan's longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir in April.

The Sudan Doctors' Committee said at least five people were killed early Monday and an unspecified but high number had been wounded.

In Khartoum, explosions and heavy machine gun fire were heard early Monday as Sudanese security forces moved on the site of a sit-in protest outside the Defense Ministry. "No excuse for any such attack", he said on Twitter.

Protest leaders urged supporters to rush to the site and called for civil disobedience.

Negotiations between protest leaders and the ruling military council have broken down, as the two sides have failed to agree on whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or a military figure.

"Responsibility falls on the TMC".

A video posted on social media showed one protester collapse to the ground, crying in pain after being hit by what appeared as live fire.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is close to the protesters, said 13 people had been killed and many others injured.

Nile bridges that connect various parts of the Sudanese capital have also been blocked.

The United Nations condemned the use of excessive force by the security forces against protesters and called for an independent investigation into deaths from the violence.

Stability in Sudan is crucial for a region grappling with violence that stretches from the Horn of Africa to Libya.

Under Bashir, an Islamist former general who ruled for three decades and is wanted by worldwide prosecutors for alleged war crimes in the Darfur region, Sudan was on a US list of sponsors of terrorism.

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