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Mass grave found in search for Sudanese ‘missing’ after December 2018 revolution

November 12 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Painting of an injured protestor by Sudanese artist Nejmeldin El Atbarawi (RD)
Painting of an injured protestor by Sudanese artist Nejmeldin El Atbarawi (RD)

The committee set up by Sudan’s Attorney General to investigate the cases of people missing since the start of the December Revolution has found a mass grave which may contain the bodies of some of the people who are still considered as ‘missing’ the missing after what is known as the Ramadan 29/June 3 massacre in front of the army command in Khartoum in 2019, which caused the death of at least 127 people.

In a press statement yesterday, the committee reported that the bodies found in the mass grave “were killed and buried in a manner contrary to human dignity”, and that it will do “everything necessary” to complete the exhumation and re-autopsy procedures after the site has been marked and the necessary guarding has been placed on it to prevent the public from approaching the area until the procedures are completed.

The committee says it will present the facts, based on the principle of non-impunity, to the Sudanese people with full transparency to give. It called on the relatives of all missing people to cooperate in order to complete its investigations.

Though the committee speaks about the period between December and April, Osman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of El Tayyar daily newspaper tweeted in an early comment yesterday: “The discovery of a mass grave for the missing of the sit-in massacre in front of the army command, means that misleading justice and trying to prevent it from reaching the truth is an official government action!”

December Revolution

When the Sudanese took to the streets in December last year, in protest against the policies of the ruling National Congress Party under the leadership of President Omar Al Bashir, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) took the lead, and called for a big protest march in Khartoum on 25 December, the first of many.

On January 1, the SPA announced the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which was also signed by the Sudan Call (a coalition of armed movements, opposition parties, and civil society organisations), opposition parties allied in the National Consensus Forces, and the Unionist Gathering.

Four months later, thousands of demonstrators responded to the call of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) to march to the Ministry of Defence in Khartoum and appeal to the military for support. This led to a large sit-in in front of the army command. Al Bashir was ousted in a military coup on April 11.

The sit-in and other protests continued, as the new military junta seemed reluctant to hand power to a civilian government. In May however, the TMC suspended the dialogue, demanding the barricades set-up by protesters on the main roads in the capital Khartoum to be removed. On June 3, the sit-in was violently dismantled.

The attacks on the sit-in also known as the Ramadan 29 massacre, caused the death of at least 127 people. About 700 protesters and others present at the sit-in that day were injured.

On August 7, the SPA Initiative for Missing People reported it documented more than 100 cases of people who went missing from the Khartoum sit-in on June 3. At least 40 bodies were found floating in the Nile.

Between June 3 and July 18, another 16 people were killed during commemoration rallies and anti-junta protests.

The Sudan Doctors Central Committee reported on July 28 last year that since the outbreak of the anti-government, at least 246 activists and others were killed and 1,353 others injured.

According to medics, 83 per cent of the victims were killed after the ousting of Al Bashir on April 11.

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