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21 dead in four days of Khartoum sit-in, police ordered to protect public

April 10 - 2019 KHARTOUM (UPDATED 22:00)
Sudanese soldiers form a protective cordon around demonstrators outside the General Command of the army in Khartoum on Monday
Sudanese soldiers form a protective cordon around demonstrators outside the General Command of the army in Khartoum on Monday

The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee announced on Tuesday that 21 people have been killed over the last four days since April 6, at and around the sit-in at the General Command of the Sudanese Army in downtown Khartoum. The dead include five members of the Sudan Armed Forces. Sudan’s head of police directed all police forces in the country not to harm citizens and peaceful gatherings, and to carry out their rightful duties in preventing crime and preserving law and order.

The committee said in a statement that the number of wounded during the four days of the mass vigil has reached 153. The doctors expect that the final death toll will increase as some of the wounded are still in a serious life-threatening condition.

El Nazir Abdelbagi from Omdurman and another person who has not been unidentified yet were shot dead by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) who attacked protesters in in a failed attempt to break the sit-in for the third time at dawn on Tuesday.

Soldiers injured protecting protesters

The doctors’ committee said that government militiamen and NISS used live bullets and a number of heavy and light weapons, which led to the death of the two protesters in addition to the wounding of several soldiers of the armed forces who intervened to protect the protesters.

Witnesses from the demonstrators said that a security force and members of ‘shadow brigades’ [armed men in civilian clothes] in about 14 pickup trucks returned at 10 am yesterday to attack the demonstrators for a fourth time. They opened dense fire into the air and threw tear gas, but army soldiers protected the protesters and confronted the gunmen and forced them to retreat towards Burri district, east of the army headquarters.

The shots and bomb sounds caused panic among the population. A resident of Burri district told Radio Dabanga that the army troops pursued and expelled them from the roundabout and the bridge of Burri.

Declaration of Freedom and Change

The signatories of the Declaration of Freedom and Change announced in a statement on Tuesday that the attack by government militiamen on the demonstrators led to the death of three of the protesters and two of the armed forces.

They said that the clash at dawn on Tuesday “is proof that this regime outweighs the widespread mistrust… it sent militiamen to attack the protesters with bullets and tear gas and did not even hesitate to confront the army, whose brave soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers countered this cowardly attack in deserved courage and patriotism”.

The statement asserts: “Today we are closer to total victory, which forces the tyrant to step down and hand over power to a transitional civilian government that reflects the forces of the revolution”.

Uprising leaders urge Sudanese Army to open talks

The forces for change called on the Sudanese Armed Forces to protect and submit to the will of the people, and begin talks immediately with the representatives of the Leadership Council formed by the signatories of the Declaration of Freedom and Change this weekend to discuss the arrangements of the transition, which cannot be postponed under this sensitive situation in the country.

The statement called on all residents of greater Khartoum and adjacent areas to come to the buildings of the General Command in support of the revolution and to continue demonstrations and sit-ins in the provinces of the country as a whole.

On Monday, the Declaration of Freedom and Change parties that spearhead the demonstrations against the Sudanese regime held a conference in front of the thousands of people gathered for the sit-in.

Omar El Degeir, head of the Sudanese Congress Party, and Sarah Nugdallah, secretary-general of the National Umma Party, announced the formation of a transitional council composed of members of the Declaration of Freedom and Change and other forces supporting the declaration.

The opposition leader said that this council will assume the functions of political contacts with the regular forces and local and international actors, in order to complete the process of political transition and the handover of power to a government compatible with the people in Sudan.

The parties have also expressed readiness to engage in direct talks with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) to facilitate the transition of power in the country.

Police chief: ‘fight crime, not demonstrators’

Sudan’s head of police directed all police forces in the country not to harm citizens and peaceful gatherings and to carry out their duties in saving lives and property, preventing crime, regulating traffic and public safety measures.

The spokesman for the police forces, Maj Gen Hashim Abdelrahim said in a statement yesterday that the Police Department, when issuing these directives, pay tribute to the police forces who remained faithful to their duties in the abstraction, professionalism and responsibility and mercy on the martyrs of the citizens, police and armed forces and other security agencies and wished speedy recovery for all the wounded.

He appealed to citizens to take peaceful measures in demonstrations, protests and distance from sabotage.

National Umma Party

El Sadig El Mahdi, President of the opposition National Umma Party said that masked gunmen have been launching raids every day at dawn against the protesters, which, he confirmed,  led to the death of at least 20, wounding dozens.

He described the sit-in, which has entered its fourth day, as “one of the manifestations of Sudanese national genius. The sit-in stands for a referendum signed by millions, he said. It confirms the keenness of the Sudanese people to topple this regime and establish a new one”.

On Tuesday, El Mahdi told a news conference in Omdurman that “the regime is now besieged by millions of people: the millions of displaced people, the millions of refugees, the millions of the cashless, and the millions of the sit-ins”.

Activist: Sit-in well organised

In one of many audio posts shared on social media with Radio Dabanga, an anonymous young woman activist can be heard (in Arabic) complimenting the way the sit-in, traffic, security checks, and medical facilities are being handled:

Herewith our report on 9 April 2019 at the square before the General Command. First of all, today was very well organised.

The protesters  were divided into committees. There is now an inspection committee for instance. It starts in front of the door. Every 10 metres there is an inspection. They search the people, their bags, anything they have with them. Men are searched by men, women by women.

Traffic is organised as well. Cars can come in from one way, people on foot from another. Cars or vans with goods for the protesters, food or medicines or water, etc. are searched as well.

The inspectors also provide you with slogans. Any slogan has to be related to our revolt, other calls are not wanted.

You go further and you are again searched. And again they give you examples of slogans.

The protesters have become more aware. On the first days, there was water yes, but things were not particularly organised. Now they are chanting “Water is for drinking, not to be spilled.”

You proceed, and they tell you: The chants today are for the army.

And then there are medical clinics. There are many of them, with a lot of medicines provided. Really lots of medicines. You cannot imagine, many doctors arrive and donate medicines. Can you imagine, famous doctors, both men and women, donate medicines. And they ask the protesters: What do you need? What can we bring you?

Anything needed is donated by supporting people.

When you proceed further, you find the place well organised. Here you can get water, there you get food. The organisers are wearing special sweaters so you know they belong to the organisation.

What else? .. Today they brought us pizza and cakes. And a truck came in filled with fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges, can you imagine? We in our house never see apples. We’d better stay here and eat revolutionary pizza and cake.

What else? ... And the people that are still arriving are serious protesters. They have a clear purpose, not like others who just sit down and joke and laugh. They are not afraid of bullets and batons. The ones afraid do not come.

About the army. Well, soldiers are patrolling outside, near the airport. And inside the square they are guarding us as well. They are standing with us. They are supporting us a lot! They brought us electricity, and other requirements. They set up large sunshades. They really did a lot for us. They are patrolling every hour with in their army vehicles with Dushkas mounted on top. They enter the crowd with their vehicles, and the protesters cheer. You feel that the army is with the protesters. They are also chanting “Just fall, that’s all.”

International protests

Demonstrations calling for the downfall of the Al Bashir regime occured simulataneously in cities around the world, on all continents. On Saturday, this video footage was filmed in central London by Jake Wiper for Waging Peace.

Credits: Waging Peace
Camera: Jake Wiper






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