Sudanese security forces shoot at protesters, killing several

NAIROBI, Kenya – Sudanese security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at crowds of protesters on Saturday, killing at least five ...


NAIROBI, Kenya – Sudanese security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at crowds of protesters on Saturday, killing at least five people and injuring many more, as one of Africa’s largest countries s ‘was sinking into a crisis triggered by a recent military coup.

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and several other cities to protest against the country’s military leader, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who has gradually tightened his grip on the Sudan since he overthrew the prime civilian minister on October 25.

The protest was the latest in a series of actions, including strikes and civil disobedience, led by angry Sudanese in hopes of forcing General al-Burhan to reverse the coup. Their position is supported by the United States, which called for the immediate restoration of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and by other Western countries which have suspended aid to the cash-strapped country in an attempt to pressure the ‘army.

But the Sudanese generals seem to be going in the opposite direction. Thursday General al-Burhan named himself head of a new governing body that has excluded civilians with whom he has shared power since the ousting of longtime dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2019.

On Saturday, the military appeared determined to draw a line in the streets.

The soldiers closed a large bridge over the Nile connecting Khartoum to its sister city, Omdurman, a traditional hotbed of protest. Coils of barbed wire were strewn across major crossroads to prevent protesters from reaching rally points near the presidential palace.

Despite this, thousands of people left neighborhoods in both towns, confronting riot police who first fired tear gas and then used gunfire.

In the evening, the Sudanese Central Medical Committee reported that four people had been shot dead and that a fifth person had died from the effects of tear gas. Many more were injured, the doctors’ committee said, and the chaos in the streets prevented at least some of them from reaching hospitals.

Although the internet has been largely shut down since the coup, activists have circulated videos to social media which showed policemen shoot their guns on protesters amid plumes of tear gas.

Officers also chased protesters through side streets to prevent them from reaching rally points, witnesses said.

“They don’t want people to unite,” Mariam al-Mahdi, the deposed foreign minister and figurehead of Sudan’s largest political party, said in a telephone interview.

One of the few civilian leaders who have not been arrested since the coup, Ms. al-Mahdi is the daughter of Sadiq al-Mahdi, the last democratically elected Sudanese prime minister who was ousted by Mr. al- Bashir in a coup in 1989.

Saturday’s clashes did not bode well for American efforts to persuade General al-Burhan to unwind the coup. On Friday, the Biden administration joined a chorus of international condemnation against what was widely seen as General al-Burhan’s effort to solidify the coup.

The governing body the military announced on Thursday is dominated by military leaders and hand-picked civilian allies. While General al-Burhan insisted he wanted to “protect the revolution” that toppled Mr. al-Bashir in 2019 and steer Sudan towards free elections in 2023, few Western countries have accepted these promises. .

The United States on Friday called on the military “to refrain from any further unilateral action that would hamper Sudan’s hard-won progress in reaching the international community,” President Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, said on twitter.

The giant crowds of young people taking to the streets of Sudan on Saturday underscored how its main generals underestimated popular resistance to the takeover, said Magdi el-Gizouli, a member of the Rift Valley Institute.

But Mr el-Gizouli said General al-Burhan appears to have taken power to prevent his own ouster by lower-ranking officers who feared losing the privileges the military has accumulated over its many decades in power. .

With that as a backdrop, he said, no Western pressure is likely to persuade General Al-Burhan to change course.

“Taking a step back from this coup could mean a fracture of the army,” said Mr. el-Gizouli. “It will not be easy for them to reverse the steps they have taken.”



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Newsrust - US Top News: Sudanese security forces shoot at protesters, killing several
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