KHARTOUM – At least seven protesters were killed and 101 were injured, some of them reportedly by sniper fire, during massive rallies on Sunday across Sudan, several sources reported.
The Health Ministry raised to seven the death toll in the huge protests throughout the day on Sunday, protests called by the opposition to demand that the military junta ruling the country hand over power to civilian authorities.
Earlier in the day, the Sudan Doctors Committee published a list on its official site on the social networks saying that at least 101 people had suffered injuries, most of them in the city of Umm Durman, near Khartoum but on the other side of the Nile River.
The committee also said that four people had died in Umm Durman, including a 50-year-old man and another man whose age was not specified, as well as a fourth victim who has not been publicly identified in any way up to now.
The Sudan Doctors Committee, an opposition group that has been reporting on the victims of last week’s repression, said earlier in the day that a 20-year-old man named Khaled was shot in the chest and killed.
A leader of the Forces for Freedom and Change, Mohamed Wadaa, confirmed to EFE that a protester was killed by security forces’ fire in the northern city of Atbara.
“The protesters were peaceful and did not carry even a stone, but they faced oppression and bullets,” he said.
The deputy chief of the military council, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemdeti, accused on Sunday infiltrators and snipers of firing on at least five protesters and three members of the security forces during the rallies.
Hamdan, the strongman on the council, which has been running the country since the ouster of Omar al-Bashir on April 11, said that the soldier in question belonged to the controversial Rapid Support Forces.
The forces, led by Hamdeti, have been blamed for the violent crackdown on a sit-in camp in Khartoum in front of the army headquarters, which left dozens of dead, many of whom were commemorated on Sunday.
“We warned yesterday against the presence of infiltrators and snipers that can take advantage of the protests,” Hamdeti said in a televised speech.
“We are going to act to contain the situation,” he continued.
Thousands of people participated in rallies in Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman and were called by the Forces for Freedom and Change, an opposition coalition, to demand the military council hand over power to a civil authority.
The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), one of the main protest-organizing groups, on Saturday night detailed the main meeting points for the scheduled mass demonstrations on its Facebook page.
The opposition said that the junta had used teargas to break up protests.
Protesters had been staging the sit-in since early April demanding a transition to civilian rule following the ouster of Al-Bashir, who had been in power for some 30 years.
Al-Bashir, who took power after he led a coup in the oil-rich country in 1989, was deposed and arrested in April in a military coup after months of anti-government demonstrations.
However, protesters continued their sit-in saying the new military rulers were a continuation of Al-Bashir’s regime.
The recent flare-up in tensions has come following the stagnation of negotiations between representatives of protesters and army officials over the makeup of a transitional government.
Both the opposition coalition and the military council have received a proposal submitted by Ethiopia and the African Union in the past days to resume negotiations.
A hike in the price of basic commodities sparked rallies in December 2018, which gathered momentum and spread across the country as thousands took to the streets in a rare display of defiance, calling for the resignation of Al-Bashir.