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Deutsche Welle: ‘Anti-aircraft weapons used against Sudan protesters’

December 17 - 2021 KHARTOUM / KOSTI / NEW YORK / BONN [UPDATED]
Poster announcing Marches of the Millions on November 13 (Social media)
Poster announcing Marches of the Millions on November 13 (Social media)

The number of demonstrators killed since the military coup d’état on October 25, rose to 45 on Tuesday. During the Marches of the Millions in Khartoum on Monday, 62 protesters were injured. In Kosti in White Nile state, more than 20 protesters, most of them minors, were detained and flogged. According to the Deutsche Welle, Sudanese security forces and paramilitaries confronted the demonstrators with anti-aircraft weapons. Sunday December 19 will be a national holiday in commemoration of the start of the 2018 December uprising against the regime of Omar Al Bashir.

On Tuesday, 18-year-old Ahmed Ramadan died in Khartoum of bullet wounds in the neck sustained during his participation in the November 13 Marches of the Millions in Omdurman.

The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee reported on Wednesday that died after having been treated in intensive care for nearly one month. With the death of Ramadan, the number of people killed during demonstrations since the October 25 military coup has risen to 45.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, the Doctors Committee said that 62 demonstrators were injured during the Marches of the Millions in Khartoum and Omdurman on Monday. About six of them were hit on the head by a tear gas canister, a women protester was hit in the eye. Six others were wounded as a result of beating with batons.

Head shaved

During the December 13 Marches of the Millions in Kosti in White Nile state, dozens of people, among them minors, were subjected to arbitrary detentions and floggings.

Mahmoud Habiballah of the Kosti Resistance Committees told Radio Dabanga on Thursday that the police held more than 20 protesters (among them 16 minors) during the December 13 demonstrations, and “filed malicious complaints” against them. Policemen as well broke into the family homes of the detainees and took their mobile phones.

One of the detainees is activist Rua Abdelrahman, against whom a number of complaints were lodged, including filming the street protests.

The detainees were subjected to “beatings and humiliating floggings” by policemen, in addition to having their hair shaved, another practice used by Sudan’s security forces to humiliate the victim.

Habiballah commented that “the practices of the former era [of the rule of dictator Omar Al Bashir] returned with more brutality”.

The New York-based African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) said in a report on Thursday that “the patterns of human rights crimes committed over the past two months since the military coup of 25 October 2021 are all too familiar to the Sudanese people”.

The centre called on the Sudanese authorities to cease violation of human rights of citizens guaranteed in the Constitutional Charter, Regional and international treaties ratified by Sudan.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ACJPS expressed its deep concern about the increased violence against and obstruction of health care by security forces since the coup.

Heavy weapons

On December 14, the Deutsche Welle (DW) published a report on the use of anti-aircraft weapons and armour-piercing bullets by Sudanese Security Forces and paramilitaries such as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Despite the internet outage ordered by General Abdelfattah El Burhan following the military coup on October 25, activists were able to document the use of heavy weapons. The footage shows clearly that the demonstrators were confronted with weapons that are prohibited from being used against civilians and in cities, the DW states.

The German international broadcaster stated that the RSF, “a militia of around 40,000 men led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, owns the majority of the heavy weapons seen in the videos. The militia even shows the weapons in posts on social media.

It is very concerning that they are using those kinds of weapons in a law enforcement context," Simon Bagshaw, a former policy adviser at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva and New York, and an expert on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and forced displacement, told DW.

Such weapons are not prohibited in and of themselves — according to international laws, but “it is a fortiori that these heavy weapons should not be used against civilians, and if they are used, this is a violation of the law related to the use of force against civilians,” he added.

Lawyers have said there could be grounds to accuse the Sudanese military authorities of crimes against humanity.

Commemoration

This weekend, new demonstrations will take place in Sudan, in commemoration of the start of the 2018 December revolution.

On December 13, small street protests against the Al Bashir regime began in Ed Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state. This was followed by similar protests in other towns which grew to the first mass demonstrations all over the country on December 19, and led to the ousting of Al Bashir in a military coup on April 11 the following year.

The Council of Ministers announced yesterday that Sunday will be “an official holiday in all parts of the country, on the occasion of the glorious anniversary of the December revolution”.

 


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