Sudanese security forces kill three protesters in new anti-coup rallies

Security forces fired and killed three protesters on Monday during demonstrations against last year’s military coup, doctors said, ahead of a visit by US diplomats trying to revive a transition to civilian rule.

The protesters were “killed by live ammunition” by “militias in the Putist military council”, said antiquarian doctors on the Facebook page of Khartoum’s health ministry.

The killings lead to 67 deaths of protesters killed since the October 25 coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The military takeover triggered widespread international condemnation and derailed from a fragile transition to civilian rule following the ouster in April 2019 of longtime autocratic president Omar al-Bashir.

The latest demonstrations, in Khartoum and Wad Madani in the south, came as US envoys to the Horn of Africa David Satterfield and Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Molly Phee was expected in the capital this week.

Security officials deployed in large numbers fired tear gas at protesters on their way to the presidential palace, an AFP correspondent said.

Several people were seen suffering from breathing difficulties and others bleeding due to wounds from tear gas containers, the correspondent said.

Sawsan Salah, from the capital’s left-wing town of Omdurman, said protesters burned car tires and carried pictures of people killed during other demonstrations since the October 25 coup.

In Wad Madani, “about 2,000 people took to the streets when they called for civilian rule,” said Emad Mohammed, a witness there.

Thousands of protesters demanded that the military return to their barracks and chanted in favor of civilian rule in northern Khartoum, witnesses said.

Protesters – who sometimes number in the tens of thousands – have regularly taken to the streets despite a deadly security measure and periodic cuts in communications since the coup.

On Thursday, Sudanese authorities said protesters stabbed to death a police general, the first death among security forces.

Authorities have repeatedly denied using live ammunition to confront protesters, insisting that crowds of security personnel were injured during protests that have often “deviated from peace”.

Diplomatic push

Starting Monday in Riyadh, Satterfield and Phee would meet with Sudan’s friends, a group demanding the re – establishment of the country’s transitional government.

The meeting aims to “marshal international support” for the UN mission to “facilitate a renewed civilian transition to democracy” in Sudan, the US State Department said.

Diplomats then travel to Khartoum for meetings with pro-democracy activists, civic groups, the military and politicians.

“Their message will be clear: the United States is committed to the freedom, peace and justice of the Sudanese people,” the State Department said.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that a new Chargé d’affaire, Lucy Tamlyn, would head the Embassy in Khartoum to serve “during this critical time in Sudan’s democratic transition”.

The UN said last week that it would launch talks with political, military and social actors to help resolve the crisis.

The regular civilian faction of the Forces for Freedom and Change, the leading civilian pro-democracy group, has said it would accept the UN offer of talks if it could revive the transition to civilian rule.

Proposed talks have been welcomed by the ruling sovereign council, which Burhan re-appointed after the coup with him as chairman.

Burhan has insisted that the military takeover “was not a coup” but only intended to “correct” the course of the transition after Bashir.

Earlier this month, Sudan’s civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, saying the country was now at a “dangerous crossroads that threatens the country’s survival”.

( Jowhar with AFP)

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