Conflicts & War

Death toll from Sudan anti-coup protests rises to 10; PM released

Khartoum, Oct 26 (EFE).- Ten people died and 140 others were wounded during protests against this week’s military coup in Sudan, the group behind the demonstrations that led to the 2019 overthrow of long-ruling dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Sudanese Professionals Association said the slain pro-democracy protesters had been shot Monday by members of the Rapid Support Forces, ex-paramilitary groups accused of crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region that have been incorporated into the regular armed forces.

Demonstrations were held Monday in various parts of Sudan after news broke that the military had dissolved the joint civilian-military government and detained several top civilian officials, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

That same day, the now-dissolved government’s Information Ministry said troops had fired at the anti-coup demonstrators outside the army’s headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.

Initial reports from the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors late Monday indicated that three protesters had died, but the Sudanese Professionals Association – led by doctors, lawyers and engineers – said Tuesday the number was more than three times higher.

Separately, a military source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Efe that Hamdok and his wife had returned to their house on Tuesday afternoon after being released without restrictions.

“Hamdok returned with his wife to their place of residence in Khartoum North’s Kafoury suburb and has no restrictions on his movement or communications,” said the source at the office of Sudan’s military chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

For their own protection, the deposed prime minister’s residence is being guarded by a security detail, the source said, adding that al-Burhan had followed through on a promise he had made hours earlier at a press conference.

The Information Ministry said Monday that Hamdok and other civilian officials were being held in unknown locations after refusing to accept the coup, but al-Burhan said Tuesday the deposed prime minister was being held at the military chief’s own house.

“No one kidnapped or attacked him (Hamdok), he is at my house,” al-Burhan told a press conference in Khartoum. “When the situation calms down and peace prevails, he will return to his house.”

Referring to other members of the deposed civilian-military government who were detained during Monday’s coup, al-Burhan said they will either face trial if charged with a crime or be released.

The Sudanese general also vowed to form a new government “accepted by the people” to replace the interim one, which was appointed in August 2019 after al-Bashir was forced out in a coup following months of large-scale protests.

The United States, the European Union and the African Union, of which Sudan is a member, on Monday demanded the immediate release of Hamdok and other detained civilian political leaders.

Following al-Bashir’s ouster, Sudan was ruled by a transitional government in which the military and the civilian opposition had shared power.

Tensions started to escalate after an attempted coup last month. Weeks-long demonstrations ensued, with protesters demanding an exclusively civilian transitional government.

Hamdok said after the failed Sept. 21 coup that it was necessary to reform the military and security agencies, accusing “remnants” of the al-Bashir regime of orchestrating the attempted putsch. EFE


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