Africa

Seven dead in Sudan after anti-coup protests end in violence

Published : January 18, 2022 14:00 IST

People chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum on Jan. 17, 2022. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest the Oct. 25, 2021 coup that has plunged the country into grinding deadlock. Photo: AP Photo/Marwan Ali

The Central Committee of Sudan doctors say seven civilians have been killed by security forces.

Sudanese security forces on January 17 have been accused of killing at least seven people during anti-coup protests in the capital Khartoum. An advocacy group, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD), said in a statement posted on social media that "seven civilians were killed by the live ammunition of security forces during today's anti-coup peaceful protests." The clash increased the number killed since the October coup to 71.

Peaceful protests take violent turn

Thousands of people again flooded the streets of the capital city on January 17, demonstrating against military rule of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Activist Nazim Sirag posted footage on Twitter showing men, women and children marching peacefully through the streets of Khartoum. Those in the crowd chanted slogans and waved flags. Sirag said that security forces opened fire on a number of marches in the capital, including one in which demonstrators had marched on the presidential palace.

In other videos circulating on various platforms online, young men can be seen throwing stones. There have been allegations in the past that the military used anti-aircraft weapons on protesters. The CCSD said that around 100 people had also been wounded as a result of the actions of security personnel. The turmoil appears to have been compounded by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's resignation earlier this month.

U.N. Security Council members urge 'utmost restraint'

Sudan's pro-democracy movement has slammed the use of force and called for a civil disobedience campaign. Hamdok's adviser, Faisal Saleh, called for the global community to take action. "The Sudanese people do not face an arbitrary government or authority, but rather a criminal gang that kills the youth of Sudan in cold blood, and the whole world is watching," Saleh said on Twitter.

Nine U.N. Security Council members urged all parties to "exercise the utmost restraint." In a statement released following a meeting of the council on January 17, all parties were called on to "refrain from the use of violence and emphasize the importance of full respect for human rights, including the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression."

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter that the U.S. was "concerned by reports of escalating violence against protesters" and said that two U.S. officials were en route to Khartoum to "reiterate our call for security forces to end violence." Earlier this month the U.N. announced it was embarking on a peace process seeking to help Sudan find an end to its political crisis.

kb/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)