Soldiers in Sudan accused of killing protesters face tribunal

Transitional government tries to calm tensions after demonstrators are shot

Sudan’s military detained about 100 soldiers after peaceful protesters were shot dead outside its headquarters in Khartoum last week.

The transitional Sovereignty Council said they would be given into the custody of the country’s senior prosecutor on Sunday, along with the findings of an investigation into Tuesday’s shooting so that legal proceedings could begin.

The council said the forces had waived the detainees’ right to a trial before a military panel “to guarantee transparency, to protect the investigation and out of concern for the security and safety of citizens”.

The statement did not disclose the number of soldiers involved, but the chief prosecutor’s office said those held included seven charged by the military with playing a direct part in the shooting and 92 other suspects. Two protesters were killed and at least 16 were injured.

The speed of the military's response appeared to be an attempt to assuage the anger felt by many Sudanese against the killings.

Hundreds of protesters in Khartoum neighbourhoods took to the streets and barricaded roads, disrupting traffic during the three-day holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

Several TV networks refrained from airing customary festive songs during Eid Al Fitr out of respect for the victims’ families.

Troops opened fire on the protesters on Tuesday night. The demonstrators had been marking the second anniversary of the deadly break-up of a pro-democracy sit-in held at military headquarters.

The military described last week's protest as peaceful.

The 2019 sit-in began before the military removed dictator Omar Al Bashir from office on April 11 that year.

It continued after he was deposed in an effort to press demands for a handover of power to a civilian government.

About 100 people were killed when security forces broke up the sit-in. The military said an attempt to clear criminals from the site got out of control.

An independent investigation launched in 2019 has yet to announce its findings.

Updated: May 16, 2021 04:38 PM


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