Sudan: gunmen kill two at anniversary protest outside military headquarters

Government calls for swift investigation into the shooting

Unidentified gunmen killed two people when they opened fire on peaceful protesters who gathered on Tuesday night outside the Sudanese armed forces headquarters in Khartoum to mark the second anniversary of the deadly break-up of a pro-democracy sit-in held at the same spot.

The powerful Central Doctors’ Committee said two protesters were killed and at least 16 were wounded. The government and the military separately put the death toll at two, but did not have a specific figure for the injured.

On Wednesday, the military said it had formed a committee to investigate the incident and was prepared to co-operate with prosecutors to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

It said the gunmen opened fire on the protesters, who were described as peaceful, as they left the area.

The anniversary of the violent break-up of the 2019 sit-in outside the army headquarters falls on the 29th day of Ramadan, which was on Tuesday.

The 2019 sit-in began before the military removed dictator Omar Al Bashir from office on April 11. It continued after his ousting to press demands for the generals to hand over power to a civilian government.

About 100 people were killed when security forces moved to break up the sit-in in June 2019.

The military said the operation was designed to clear one part of the sprawling sit-in site that had become a hangout for criminals, but that things got out of control after the operation began.

An independent investigation was launched in 2019 to establish what exactly happened and who were behind the killings, but it has yet to announce its findings.

The military and the pro-democracy movement that orchestrated months of street protests against Al Bashir’s rule prior to his removal reached a power-sharing agreement in August 2019 for a transitional period before elections are held.

Relations between the two sides, however, are frequently tense over a range of issues, including charges by the civilian-led government that the military oversteps its mandate.

“What happened last night … was a complete crime in which live ammunition was used against peaceful protesters and that can absolutely not be tolerated or ignored,” the government said on Wednesday.

“The slow pace of the work of judicial agencies to expose crime and send suspects to trial has become a worrisome custom. We call on them to urgently undertake a deep revision of their work methods to realise the principles of the glorious December revolution,” it said.

Updated: May 12, 2021 06:42 PM

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