Sudan: Rapid Support Forces should be removed from streets of Khartoum immediately

Sudanese security forces on the streets of Khartoum earlier this week © AFP/Getty Images

Protester’s bodies weighted with bricks and thrown in the Nile

Wave of arrests, including of prominent opposition figure Yassir Saeed Arman

Rapid Support Forces ‘must be ordered off the streets and confined to their barracks in the interests of public safety’ - Kumi Naidoo

Amnesty International is calling for feared Rapid Support Forces to be immediately withdrawn from the streets of Khartoum after their implication in horrific violence in the Sudanese capital in recent days. 

Reports have emerged this week of dozens of protesters’ bodies being thrown into the River Nile in Khartoum after attacks by members of the Rapid Support Forces, a special military force allied to Sudan’s former government.  

Earlier today, the African Union suspended Sudan from the organisation in response to the violence. 

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

“The Transitional Military Council of Sudan must immediately withdraw all members of the Rapid Support Forces from policing and law enforcement anywhere in Sudan, and especially in Khartoum. They must be ordered off the streets and confined to their barracks in the interests of public safety. 

“What we have witnessed in the past three days is horrific and barbaric. 

“The senseless killing of protesters must be stopped immediately, and those responsible for the bloodbath - including at command level - must be held fully accountable for their dreadful actions.”

Hundreds arrested, including leading opposition figure

Since Monday, media outlets have widely reported attacks on protesters with live ammunition, teargas, whips and sticks by Rapid Support Forces paramilitary officers across Sudan. 

According to the Central Committee of Medical Doctors, more than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more injured. The security forces tried to conceal their acts by dumping dead bodies weighted with bricks in the River Nile, 40 of which are reported to have floated back to the surface, according to the doctors’ committee.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and detained in the past three days, including recently-returned opposition leader Yassir Saeed Arman, whose whereabouts are unknown. Yassir, who was one of the lead negotiators during the peace agreement that ended the war between the north and south of Sudan in 2005, has an unwarranted death sentence hanging over his head. He must be released immediately and unconditionally. 

Internet blocked

Amnesty is calling for the immediate unblocking of the internet and social media to allow people in Sudan access to information, and the opportunity to exercise their freedom of expression.

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