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Six dead as gunfire rakes Khartoum sit-in

May 14 - 2019 KHARTOUM (UPDATED)
The sit-in in Khartoum (File photo)
The sit-in in Khartoum (File photo)

Gunfire that erupted at the sit-in in front of the General Command of the Sudanese army in Khartoum on Monday evening, has left an army Captain and at least five* protestors dead. Dozens more have been injured. The violence is being blamed on ‘shadow battalions’ and ‘sleeper cells’ of supporters of the ousted Al Bashir regime

Reports reaching Radio Dabanga say that protestors at the sit-in, that has been maintained since April 6, were targeted by ‘gunmen in military uniforms’. Witnesses said that there were also sharpshooters on buildings, and the dead army officer, named only as Captain Koroama, was targeted by them.

Transitional Military Council

In a reaction via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), the Transitional Military Council (TMC), that has ruled Sudan since the overthrow of Al Bashir last month, confirmed that “some infiltrators carrying weapons targeted the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), other regular forces, and the protestors in order to cause confusion and sedition”.

At a press conference held by the RSF and army commanders on Tuesday, the head of Sudan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Hashem Ahmed, said that “the armed forces are keen to protect the people's revolution and will not fire a single shot at the people of Sudan”.

The intelligence chief blamed “foreign circles and sleeper cells of the former regime” for the incidents. TMC spokesman, Shamseldin Kabbashi suggested that “some circles disturbed by the progress made in the negotiations between the TMC and the AFC exploited the situation to create chaos in the country by spreading rumours and sedition between the Army and the RSF.”

Alliance for Freedom and Change

The Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC), the organisers of the protests which call for the transfer of power to a civilian government, issued a statement via SUNA today condemning “the violent incidents and terrible aggressions, that raise concerns and require decisive response.”

The AFC statement says it has “strongly rejected violent practices against civilians whatever their sources,” and asserts that “the five-month peaceful revolution will remain a stronghold of peace that will not be harmed by attempts of remnants of the former regime and anti-revolution forces”.

The AFC branded the violence as “a desperate attempt to abort the accomplishments scored by the revolutionary forces in the negotiations,” suggesting that there are those who would seek to derail the current TMC-AFC negotiations to reach a transfer of rule to a transitional civilian government according to the Declaration of Freedom and Change.

The statement affirmed that the revolution will continue until its goals are achieved, and that “the endeavours of the deep state and the anti-revolution forces would not affect its position”. It said that the breakthrough made in negotiation over transfer of power is a victory for the peaceful revolution and called on revolutionaries in Khartoum and other states to take to streets in huge peaceful mass rallies to abort attempts to dispersing the sit-ins and peaceful protests.

National Security and Intelligence Service

The National Security and Intelligence Service (NISS) issued a statement denying reports about their involvement in the attacks on the army forces and civilians in the vicinity of the army headquarters.

The NISS is "committed to only collect, analyse and assess information and submit it to the relevant authorities," added the statement.

Rapid Support Forces

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s main government militia, which is commanded by Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan (aka Hemeti), deputy-head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and effective Vice-President of Sudan, issued a statement on Tuesday in which they affirmed that the RSF “sided the people of Sudan and regretted the Monday’s incidents which were carried out by circles and groups targeting the revolution after they disturbed by results reached to by the TMC and the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC).

It stated that circles and groups targeting the revolution stood behind the yesterday’s regrettable incidents after they disturbed by what was reached to by the TMC and the Alliance of Freedom and Change on Monday, adding that these groups are endeavouring to abort any progress in negotiation that could pull the country out of this crisis.

The statement said those groups infiltrated to the sit-in area and other areas and fired at protesters, made friction with people and regular forces guarding the protesters that led to the killing of Captain Korouma, the injury of two RSF elements, and a number of soldiers and protesters.

The RSF called the people to “remain vigilant towards such groups which target the RS , the armed forces and other regular forces, asserting that such groups are working hard to foil achievement of the revolution goals and to incite sedition between the protesters and the RSF which fully carry out their national role in preserving the gains of the glorious revolution.”

In conclusion, the statement stressed that the RSF would not use force to disperse the sit-in.

* This figure was later credibly adjusted to three by the Sudanese Central Doctors Committee.

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