Sudan government admits at least 22 killed, following crackdowns on protests

Sudan government admits at least 22 killed, following crackdowns on protests
A harsh government suppression of protests in Sudan has seen at least 22 dead, authorities have said.
3 min read
11 January, 2019
Sudan's capital and twin city witnessed rival protests on Tuesday [Getty]

Sudan's government has admitted that at least 22 people have been killed during recent violence, when authorities quashed protests across the country.

Anti-government protests have rocked Sudan in recent weeks, with opposition leaders calling for new protests following a rally supporting Omar al-Bashir, when the president struck a defiant tone.

"This gathering sends a message to those who think that Sudan will become like other countries that have been destroyed," Bashir told the crowd. 

"Those who tried to destroy Sudan... put conditions on us to solve our problems, I tell them that our dignity is more than the price of dollars," Bashir said, referring to a trade embargo on Khartoum in 1997, which was lifted in 2017.

Three protesters died on Wednesday as rival rallies rocked the capital Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman.

Protesters have blamed Bashir's decision last month to triple the price of bread for causing the unrest, which has spiralled into angry demonstrations calling for the president and his regime to quit power.

The anti-government protesters chanted: freedom, peace, justice" and "revolution is the people's choice", before riot police fired tear gas to break up the crowd.

Police confirmed that three were killed but did not say how they died.

"An illegal gathering was held in Omdurman and police dispersed it with tear gas," police spokesman Hashim Abdelrahim said in a statement.

"Police later received reports that three protesters had died and several (were) injured. We are now investigating."

Among the 22 killed are two security personnel, according to official figures.

Activists believe the real figure is much higher, with Human Rights Watch saying on Monday that at least 40 people, including children, had been killed in the unrest.

A doctor told AFP late on Wednesday that six protesters were being treated at Omdurman's main hospital for gunshot wounds, with medical staff saying that police had fired tear gas at the facility.

"There was also shooting inside the hospital," the group said in a statement, without specifying who had opened fire.

Governor of Khartoum, Hashim Osman, tasked a panel with investigating the incidents at the hospital, his office said on Thursday.

Bashir and others have blamed violence at the nearly month-long protests on "thugs" and "conspirators" without naming them.

New demonstrations have been arranged for Friday after midday prayers, including in the town of Atbara where unrest first erupted on 19 December.

"After successful rallies on January 6 and 9, we are now calling for a rally on Friday in Atbara," the Sudanese Professionals' Association said in a statement.

"We also urge the Sudanese people to continue with their demonstrations in their residential areas," said the group, made up of doctors, teachers and engineers.