Sudanese security forces open fire at Khartoum sit-in


Sudanese security forces opened fire in a bid to clear demonstrators in a weeks-long sit-in held outside the army headquarters as discussions on the makeup of a sovereign council designed to steer the nation towards democracy continue.

At least eight people were wounded on Wednesday from gunfire from the capital, Khartoum, a spokesman for the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella team wrote on Facebook.

A protest leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP news agency three were in serious condition.

A comment said troops in the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fired shots into the atmosphere as they moved to clear protesters in the region, which has served as a focal point for demonstrators calling Sudan’s judgment Transitional Military Council (TMC) to cede power to a civilian-led administration following the overthrow of longtime president Omar Al-Bashir past month.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting against Khartoum, said the violence broke out following RSF forces whose mind is also the deputy head of the military council – tried to”remove barricades” built around the protest site but had been met with resistance by demonstrators.

“There is lots of tension in front of the military headquarters,” she explained, mentioning earlier violence in the website on Monday that led to at least four deaths.

Continuing discussions

The violence came after the TMC declared earlier on Wednesday that after two weeks of discussions it had brokered a deal with the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance about the makeup of a legislative council and a yearlong transition period into a civilian government.

Under the arrangement, the resistance alliance would have two-thirds of those chairs in a legislative council, TMC member Lieutenant-General Yasser al-Atta told reporters at a press conference.

But, both sides are yet to agree to the make-up of a sovereign council, the envisaged top tier of power during the planned transition period, together with both wanting majority representation.

Final discussions were to occur on Wednesday evening, according to the TMC.

Satea al-Hajj, a DFCF member, said:”The perspectives are shut and, God willing, we’ll reach an agreement shortly.”

Violence in Khartoum

Amid the negotiations, protesters pushing for a civilian-led transition have stayed in the streets, such as beyond the military headquarters where the sit-in started on April 6.

Some streets in the middle of the funds are blocked with bricks, stones, slabs and branches of concrete which security and paramilitary forces have sometimes tried to eliminate.

About Mondayو after security forces opened fire while trying to clean some demonstration websites, an outburst of violence left four people dead, including three protesters and a military police officer. They were the first deaths connected to the protests for many weeks.

Al Jazeera’s Morgan reported that the TMC denied responsibility for the violence.

“The army council came out and said the people who fired at protesters were not part of their forces or by the RSF,” she explained, adding that the TMC stated it might launch an independent investigation into the episode.

The United States blamed Sudan’s military rulers for the deaths, however.

The horrible attacks on protesters… are certainly the result of the Transitional Military Council attempting to impose its will on the protesters by attempting to eliminate roadblocks,” the US Embassy in Khartoum said at an announcement on Facebook.

The decision for security forces to escalate the use of power, including the unnecessary usage of tear gas, led directly into the unacceptable violence later in the day which the TMC was unable to restrain .”

Scores killed

Separately on Monday, Sudan’s prosecutor general announced which al-Bashir was charged”with inciting and engaging” in the killing of protesters during the mass protests that caused the end of his decades-long rule.

There has been no comment from al-Bashir since his banning and removal in April 11. The former president has been reportedly being held at the maximum security Kobar prison in Khartoum.

Demonstrations against the 75-year-old have been sparked by a government decision in December to Boost gas and bread subsidies but rapidly escalated to wider demands for him to stand down.

Human Rights Watch, citing tracking groups, stated last month at least 70 protesters have been killed by government forces since the demonstrations began.

Last week, the Central Committee of both all Sudanese Doctors, a group connected to the protest movement, set the death toll at more than 90.


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