Several Sudanese cities were in turmoil by large-scale protests yesterday which security forces clamped-down with the use of bullets and tear gas. Two people were reportedly killed and one seriously injured. Again, security forces stormed a hospital treating wounded demonstrators.
Khartoum, El Obeid, Atbara, Port Sudan, Wad Madani, El Duweim, en Sennar witnessed demonstrations calling for the step-down of President Omar Al Bashir and the departure of the Sudanese government.
Sudanese security forces, including riot police and National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), used excessive violence against the demonstrations amid a large deployment of security forces that usedlive bullets, baton sticks and tear gas.
Vehicles with security personnel in official and plain clothes were stationed across the downtown area of Khartoum and along the route of Thursday’s march in the capital.
They shot dead at least two people, wounded dozens of demonstrators. Eight of them are in serious conditions. A number of people suffocated during the protests owing to the tear gas attacks and crowds of people.
A currently unknown number of people has been detained in the Khartoum mass protest yesterday. Several sources reported that dozens to hundreds of people were detained.
Photos: Seriously wounded protesters receive treatment in a hospital in Khartoum on Thursday (RD)
Eight demonstrators were seriously wounded, including five with gunshot wounds. The committee reported that the wounded were taken to Fideil hospital.
The two deaths have also been confirmed to the AFP news agency by the relatives of the two victims.
In a press statement, the independent Central Sudanese Doctors’ Committee said that the demonstrations in Burri neigbourhood in Khartoum on Thursday resulted in the death of medic Babikir Abdelhamid.
Reports received by Radio Dabanga on Friday morning also confirm that Muawia Khalil (60 years) died from wounds he sustained at the hands of security forces the evening before. He was shot in Burri in Khartoum, where he lived.
In a statement of the Central Sudanese Doctors’ Committee received by Radio Dabanga on Friday, it is reported that Khalil was shot in his house where he was giving medical treatment to demonstrators when the security force attemped to storm inside. Khalil went outside to explain that he is a doctor upon which they shot him.
Reuters reported that the next day, Sudanese police shot live ammunition as mourners gathered outside the home of the 60-year-old man. Before police opened fire, some mourners had pelted police nearby with rocks and damaged a police car as can be seen in this video circulating on Facebook. The clashes had calmed by the time protesters transported the body of Khalil to Burri Mosque.
On Thursday evening, protester El Fatih El Nimeir, a mechanical engineering student, sustained a serious head wound and was transferred to a hospital in Khartoum.
Sudanese government officials said that during the four weeks of protests that started on December 19, at least 24 people have died. Human rights groups have reported a higher toll, including Amnesty International which said that more than 40 people have been killed last week only.
On Thursday, a security force stormed El Feisal Specialised Hospital in downtown Khartoum, broke its glass gate and then fired tear gas inside the emergency section. Hospital staff left the hospital as a result of suffocation.
The Central Sudanese Doctors' Committee explained in a statement that the administrative director and the director of staff were arrested on the spot.
Security forces told hospital staff to immediately erase footage of the surveillance cameras
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the security also arrested a number of patients who tried to document the events with their mobile phones and told them to erase that and footage on surveillance cameras immediately.
Amnesty International reported on Friday afternoon that it spoke to a medical doctor on duty at El Feisal Hospital, who said security forces raided the hospital in the afternoon, fired teargas and arrested him and another doctor, as well as two other medical staff. The medics, who were beaten during the arrest, were detained and interrogated at the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) offices. He was released without charge after 8:30pm, while the others were released several hours later.
On Wednesday 9 January, government forces entered the Omdurman Teaching Hospital and fired live bullets and tear gas in their pursue of wounded protesters from earlier that day. They marched into the emergency and medical sections of the Omdurman Hospital roughing up both patients and doctors.
The European External Action Service (EEAS), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Troika (UK, US and Norway) and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have condemned the Sudanese authorities violent repression of protests and censorship and arrests of journalists.
In the capital, security forces continued to target journalists covering the demonstrations. During the peaceful Khartoum march to the Republican Palace journalists Feisal Mohamed Saleh, Khalid Fathi, and Adil Kolor were arrested or re-arrested.
In the meantime journalists Kamal Karrar, Gurashi Awad, Ageel Naeem, Omar Juma and Ismail Bilal are still being held, following their detention several weeks ago.
The international Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a blog article yesterday about the situation. ‘Newspapers are being forced to toe the government line, some steering away from covering the protest all together and others publishing blank spaces in the places assigned for protest coverage and opinion columns that support it.’
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) – a trade union representing doctors, teachers and engineers among others – has stepped into the vacuum created by the arrest of opposition leaders last December. They published the Declaration of Freedom and Change in Sudan on January 1. Dr Mohamed Naji of the SPA described the Declaration as an important step to support the growing public movement against the government and that the signatories welcome any addition to the tasks of the transitional government they envision.
The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to take responsibility and form an international commission of inquiry into the crimes committed by the regime and its forces against the Sudanese people. The opposition party's demand came after President Omar Al Bashir’s announcement that a committee will be informed to investigate the current protests.
The party added that it is working with its partners and allies such as the Sudan Call alliance, to form a team of lawyers and legal experts to bring the matter before the International Criminal Court and prosecute any perpetrators through the international judiciary.
Correction: This article initially stated that on Friday morning, protester El Fatih El Nimeir, a mechanical engineering student, succumbed to his wounds in a hospital in Khartoum. This was incorrect. El Nimeir was fatally injured to the head. Update January 22: El Fatih El Nimeir could not be saved by the medics and died in the hospital on Monday January 22.