Five shot dead in Darfur by Sudan regime militia, as anti-government protests continue

Five shot dead in Darfur by Sudan regime militia, as anti-government protests continue
Five were shot dead by a regime-allied militia in Darfur, an opposition party claimed, as protests against Bashir's regime continued elsewhere in the country.
4 min read
14 March, 2019
President Omar al-Bashir also swore in a new cabinet on Thursday [Getty]

Five people were on Wednesday night shot and killed by a regime-affiliated militia in Darfur, the opposition Sudanese Congress Party claimed on Thursday.

It came as hundreds of protesters gathered across Sudan on Thursday as President Omar al-Bashir swore in a new cabinet he said will tackle the country's severe economic crisis - one of the triggers behind the mass demonstrations which have been ongoing for three months.

Five men were killed and four wounded in the al-Geneina, West Darfur after they refused to give up their possessions to a militia affiliated with the ruling National Congress Party, Sudanese activists reported.

Thousands reportedly flooded on to the streets of al-Geneina in uproar following the killings.

"This is the norm for the Congress Party since 2003 [when the war in Darfur began], killing people on the margins of society. There is no law, no justice which can grant justice to these marginal people - the prevailing law is the law of the jungle," said an activist on Twitter.

The anonymous source claimed that some had their hands tied behind their back before being shot in the head, execution style.

While the reports could not be independently verified, the allegations were widespread and pictures distributed on social media showed men with their hands bound with rope, some of them blindfolded, and blood coming from their heads.

"The regime continued to perpetrate genocide in its final days, and added to its record of crimes against humanity a new crime in West Darfur," said a statement from the opposition Sudanese Congress Party on Facebook.

Bashir and other regime figures have been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, following massacres in Darfur.

Continuing demonstrations

Demonstrators took to the streets in areas across the country chanting popular slogans such as "freedom, peace, justice" and "the revolution is the people's choice" as protests continued despite a ban on unauthorised demonstrations and a continuing state of emergency under which hundreds have been arrested.

"How long will you remain silent?" questioned some protesters, urging residents to join them, reported AFP.

Security forces attempted to disperse protesters with tear gas in multiple locations.

President Omar al-Bashir swore in a new cabinet, announced on Wednesday, tasked with tackling the economic crisis.

The new cabinet led by Prime Minister Mohamed Tahir Eila is Sudan's third government in less than two years, with the previous two sacked by Bashir for failing to revive the economy.

"We recognise the main issues, the issues of bread and oil, that need to be solved," Eila said on Wednesday.

Protests erupted in mid-December when a government decision to cut surpluses led to tripled bread prices, exacerbating the poor financial situation of many in a country which many Sudanese say has been dogged by corruption, economic mismanagement and human rights abuses.

The protests quickly spread across the country and took on a broader political message - calling on Bashir, who took power in a 1989 military coup, to step down.

"The economic issues need to be solved immediately as it impacts inflation and our exchange rate," said the prime minister.

While some analysts blame the country's economic crisis on the secession of oil-rich South Sudan and the imposition of International Monetary Fund (IMF) measures, many Sudanese protesters argue that endemic corruption, economic mismanagement and an excess of military spending is to blame.

Sudanese opposition organisations and protesters say they are fighting for more than just economic reform in the popular demonstrations which have swept the country. For many, Sudan's economic decline is a mere symptom of the regime's attitude toward its citizens.

"What motivated the people and me in the start of the revolution is the lack of basic needs in your own country like bread and fuel," a Sudanese student told The New Arab, "but once people started, they realized that they're not just protesting against these needs, but they're protesting against an unjust rule, an unjust regime."

Sudanese officials claim 30 people have died in protest-related violence, but activists say at least 57 have been killed.