Sudan's military ruler calls on UK to apologise for 1898 massacre at Omdurman
Sudan’s military ruler, General Abdul Fattah Burhan, said on Tuesday that Britain must apologise for the 1898 Battle of Omdurman, where tens of thousands of Sudanese soldiers were killed.
The army chief was speaking at the site of the battle a couple of days after its 124th anniversary.
An estimated 18,000 Sudanese fighters were killed by British forces and tens of thousands more were wounded and Burhan said that Britain had committed “ethnic cleansing” and a “crime against humanity”.
In Sudan the battle is known as the Battle of Kerreri, after the village west of Omdurman where it took place.
It was part of the Anglo-Egyptian Conquest of Sudan in which the Sudanese Mahdist state was destroyed.
Burhan said that the Sudanese fighters who were killed were “defending their country” and warned that there were unspecified forces in Sudan today working for a “repeat” of the colonial conquest of the country.
Burhan, who has headed Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council since former dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown after mass protests in 2019, launched a coup against the civilian government of Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok in October 2021.
There have been ongoing protests against the military takeover since then, in which dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more injured.
The US, UN, and EU have denounced the takeover and Burhan’s brief reinstatement of Hamdok last November and his promises of a return to civilian rule have not been accepted by the country’s civilian opposition, who have vowed to continue protests.
Hamdok resigned again as prime minister in January.
In his speech, Burhan warned the opposition not to meddle in military affairs and said that efforts to create tension between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) will not succeed.
The RSF have been accused of numerous human rights abuses and are led by the notorious General Mohamed Hamadan Dagalo.
Burhan was apparently responding to recent reports that he and Dagalo were at odds.
In a recent statement the latter said that Burhan’s October coup had failed to bring about change in Sudan.