The death toll has climbed to over 100 and is expected to increase further from the violent dispersal of a pro-democracy sit-in outside the military’s headquarters in Khartoum.
Bricks are laid by protesters to block a street in Sudan’s capital Khartoum to stop military vehicles from driving through the area. June 5, 2019. (mohammed najib / AP)
The death toll from a government crackdown on protesters in Sudan’s capital has risen to 108, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said on Wednesday.
Three children from one family were among the victims, said the committee, adding that at least 509 people had been wounded.
“The number of deaths has climbed to 108 as more bodies were found in the Nile River and three children from one family were killed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF),” the committee said in a statement.
The committee noted that more bodies are still being retrieved from the Nile.
Hospitals in Khartoum said they were struggling to cope with the number of wounded.
UN pulls staff
The United Nations said on Wednesday it is temporarily removing some civilian staff from Sudan because of the security situation in the country, where security forces on Monday carried out a deadly raid on a protest camp.
“What we are doing is temporarily relocating some of the staff from Sudan. There will still be some staff on hand to perform critical functions but because of security some … are being relocated temporarily,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
The spokesman provided no information on how many staff were being moved, where they were going, when they might return and how many would remain in the country.
Sudanese protest leaders dismissed a call for talks with the ruling generals, saying the military cannot be serious about negotiations while troops keep shooting and killing protesters.
A spokesman for the protesters said they would instead continue their pro-democracy campaign to pressure the military to hand over power to a civilian authority.
Earlier Wednesday, the head of the military council, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, said the generals were ready to resume negotiations and that there would be “no restrictions” in talks with the leaders behind the months-long street protests.
“We open our hands to negotiations with all parties … for the interest of the nation,” Burhan said, adding that those responsible for the violent break-up of the demonstrators’ sit-in in the capital, Khartoum, would be held accountable.
The motives for Burhan’s about-face — if sincere — were not immediately clear. Burhan had earlier cut the negotiations and cancelled all agreed-on points between the military and the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, an alliance which represents the protesters.
Mohammed Yousef al Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, which is also part of the alliance and which is leading the demonstrations, said the protesters “totally reject” Burhan’s call.
“This call is not serious,” Mustafa told The Associated Press.
“Burhan and those under him have killed the Sudanese and are still doing it. Their vehicles patrol the streets, firing at people,” he said.
“We will continue in our protests, resistance, strike and total civil disobedience,” Mustafa added.
Saudi Arabia urges for dialogue
Saudi Arabia said it is watching developments in Sudan with great concern and it supports continued dialogue between the ruling military council and the opposition.
Saudi Arabia has close ties to the council, which has taken control of Sudan since the overthrow of President Omar al Bashir in April.
“The Kingdom hopes that all parties in Sudan will choose wisdom and constructive dialogue to preserve security and stability in Sudan, protect the people of Sudan from all harm, while maintaining Sudan’s interests and unity,” a statement on the official Saudi Press Agency said on Wednesday.
Sudan’s opposition Democratic Alliance of Lawyers on Tuesday urged “some Arab countries” not to interfere in Sudanese affairs and to drop their support for the military council – comments apparently aimed at Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Burhan and his deputy have ties to the two Gulf states through the participation of Sudanese troops in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE also pledged $3 billion in aid in April to the country after the ouster of Bashir.
The Saudi and UAE support included a $500 million deposit in Sudan’s central bank, with the rest going towards fuel, wheat and medicine.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies