At least 11 killed, including security forces, in Sudan sit-in: Minister

At least 11 killed, including security forces, in Sudan sit-in: Minister
Sudan's government has said that at least 11 people, including six members of the security forces, were killed during attempts to disperse a mass sit-in in Khartoum.
3 min read
10 April, 2019
Activists say 22 people have been killed at the sit-in since Saturday [AFP]

At least 11 people, including six members of Sudan's security forces, were killed on Tuesday in a mass sit-in outside the military's headquarters Khartoum, the regime's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Sudanese security forces have repeatedly tried to disperse the thousands-strong peaceful protest, now in its fifth night, using tear gas and live bullets, according to eyewitnesses.

The sit-in has also been the site of clashes between the security services and army personnel who say they are disobeying orders in order to protect protesters.

This is the first official acknowledgement of the injury or deaths of members of Sudan's security forces, and marks the second acknowledgement of the deaths of demonstrators following months of silence by the regime.

The figures given by Information Minister Hassan Ismail, also the official spokesman for the Sudanese regime, clash with those published by activists, who say at least 14 people were killed on Tuesday alone.

The security forces and regime-linked militias have killed at least 22 people since Saturday, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD).

Five of those killed were soldiers who were shot by the security forces while defending demonstrators. The CCSD has not published any statements about the deaths of members of the security forces.

Ismail did not comment on the violence a day earlier, according to AFP.

Eyewitnesses estimate between 3 to 4 million people - more than half of the population of Khartoum - have been involved in the sit-in.

Aerial videos published on social media show that, at the very least, hundreds of thousands have been gathered outside the Army General Command for five days.

Protesters marched from various areas of the capital towards the army headquarters on Saturday, calling for the military to support them in their call for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

Saturday's marches were hotly anticipated by many Sudanese and had been planned to coincide with the 34th anniversary of Sudan’s 6 April revolution, when mass protests prompted the military to unseat President Gaafar Nimeiri.

The military then handed over power to an elected government, which was toppled a few years later when Bashir took power in a 1989 military coup.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Sudanese protesters say his 30-year rule has been characterised by corruption and human rights abuses.

Demonstrators have been calling for an end to his presidency and the formation of a transitional government since mid-December.

At least 82 people, including five soldiers, have died since December according to the CCSD.

This latest announcement brings the regime's official tally of the dead to 49 people, including six members of the security forces. It has not made any statements about the deaths of any soldiers.

The ruling National Congress Party on Wednesday called for its supporters to hold a rally on Thursday to "show that there are social and political powers that are committed towards peace, security and stability in Sudan".