Sudan: protesters starved and nine killed in government's lethal offensive

Nine people have been reportedly killed in Sudan since protesters began a sit-in at the military’s headquarters in Khartoum on Saturday (6 April), with police and security forces using excessive force to try and disperse protesters calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down, Amnesty International has learned.

Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

“The Sudanese authorities must stop firing at protesters peacefully exercising their freedom of expression. The killing of people who are simply taking a stand for what they believe in is completely unacceptable."

Nine killed 

Amnesty has verified that two men were killed early Tuesday morning, one close to his house in Omdurman as he returned from the sit-in. The other was killed after what appeared to be a skirmish between National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and police on the one hand, and officers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on the other. An army officer was also reportedly shot in the head in the early morning clashes.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said a further five people were shot and killed in Khartoum on 6 April, when NISS and police officers fired live ammunition and teargas in an attempt to disperse protesters at the sit-in.

The Darfur IDPs’ coordination committee also recorded the death of one woman in Zalingei, the capital city of Central Darfur, on the same day. She was shot dead when security officers opened fire on protestors.

In a separate incident, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said one man was killed when he was run over by an NISS vehicle in El Obeid, the capital city of North Kordofan on 7 April.

Yesterday (8 April), junior army officers opened fire, ostensibly to protect peaceful protesters, after NISS agents and police officers attempted to disperse protesters at the military headquarters using firearms.

Social media jammed, food and water blocked

Protesters have told Amnesty that all social media platforms have been jammed and that the phone signal around the military headquarters is noticeably weakened.

City authorities in Khartoum have also cut off the water supply to the area, while cars are being searched and seized by the NISS for ferrying food and water to protesters.

Joan Nyanyuki said: 

“The move by the authorities to try to starve protesters and deny them access to communication is a clear attempt to silence and deny protesters their human rights. The government must immediately stop depriving people of food and water as a means of oppression." 

Background

The Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) called for protests on 6 April 2019 to mark the 34th anniversary of the toppling of the former President Jaafar Muhammad an-Nimeiry’s government by the Sudan Armed Forces in response to a popular uprising in Sudan, as well as to protest against the current government.

Thousands of protesters responded to the call and gathered in front of Sudan’s army headquarters calling for the removal of President Bashir's government. The SPA called on protesters to stage a sit-in at the army headquarters until their demands for a change in the country’s leadership were met.

Sudan’s newly appointed Prime Minister Mohamed Tahir Ayala reportedly accused the SPA of harassing the security forces saying government institutions would respond decisively. 

The doctors’ and IDP committees have also separately reported injuries among protesters totaling at least 21 people since 6 April. Seventeen of these were injured over the weekend in Khartoum, including a soldier, while another four were internally displaced people (IDPs) currently living in Zalingei.

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