Sudan forces kill at least one protester, says doctors’ group

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Sudanese security forces killed at least one person while violently dispersing anti-coup protesters on Tuesday in the capital of Khartoum and other cities, a medical group said.

The Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement, said the protester was shot dead when security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Omdurman, Khartoum’s sister city.

It said the fatality brought the death tally among protesters to at least 118, mostly young people, since the military seized power on 25 October in a globally condemned coup that plunged the country into worsening turmoil.

Thousands of people were injured in the nearly weekly street protests since the coup, according to the medical group which tracks casualties among protesters. 

The coup derailed the country’s short-lived transition to democracy after a popular uprising forced the military’s removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist-allied government in April 2019.

The leading pro-democracy movement, known as the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, called for Tuesday’s protests to denounce the coup and dayslong tribal clashes in the southern Blue Nile province that killed at least 105 people earlier this month.

The group said men in civilian clothes armed with guns and knives attacked a protest march in Khartoum. It claimed that security agencies and al-Bashir supporters were behind this attack. It did not offer evidence supporting its claims, and there was no immediate comment from the police.

Tuesday’s protests came barely three weeks after the country’s top military officer, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, said he and other commanding officers would not take part in UN-facilitated talks with the pro-democracy movement and that the military would return to the barracks after political forces agreed on a transitional government.

Burhan’s 4 July declaration was supported last week by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who commands the feared Rapid Support Forces. The RSF, which grew out of the notorious Janjaweed militias, was accused by rights and protest groups of implicating in atrocities against protests over the past three years.

The pro-democracy movement rejected Burhan’s declaration as a tactical manoeuvre that was likely meant to inflame divisions within the already fractured pro-democracy groups. It called for the general to step down and allow the pro-democracy groups to form a civilian government and restructure the military.