Ten killed in clashes as Sudan begins crackdown

Jared Ferrie, CNN • Updated 1st September 2019

( CNN ) — Sudan on Wednesday resumed a campaign of arrests and violence as it cracked down on protests sparked by the death of an opposition leader and restrictions on the media

At least ten protesters were shot dead during demonstrations across the capital, Khartoum, according to medics at the Abbasi al-Islam hospital in downtown Khartoum. Another 20 were injured in the latest wave of violence that erupted after Friday prayers, according to a CNN tally.

Earlier Wednesday, protests that had blocked major roads in Khartoum and other cities for a second straight day were mostly tamped down as authorities began implementing a ban on protests.

Activists also posted images of the bodies of three men shot dead after a confrontation with riot police in Khartoum’s Bayliss district. The incident, which was not immediately confirmed by the authorities, led to clashes in areas like South Kordofan town and the industrial town of El – Agarah.

As he called for calm on state television, President Omar al-Bashir acknowledged the need for dialogue but avoided speaking directly to the protesters.

“We must work together to meet their legitimate demands,” al-Bashir said.

Al-Bashir himself is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges related to the 1994 genocide in the Darfur region. The court’s chief prosecutor has accused him of organizing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan.

Khartoum also has faced weeks of deadly protests sparked by Bashir’s plan to hike the price of bread.

Determined to end the unrest, authorities on Tuesday began arresting people suspected of involvement in last week’s killing of 62-year-old Salah Abdel-Nour, a retired civil servant, while he was jogging.

Abdel-Nour, a lawyer by profession, was seen running down a Khartoum street and collapsed in a state security building hours after he was originally arrested on Friday. He was later shot dead and the government announced he was killed in crossfire.

The opposition National Consensus Forces said late Wednesday that Egyptian intelligence agents kidnapped Abdel-Nour at a Cairo airport in the early hours of Tuesday and brought him to Sudan. A security source told CNN that the Egyptian intelligence service and its Sudanese counterpart are in contact and managing each other’s affairs. The sources said that Sudan, which has not commented on the issue, was looking into the issue.

The Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reported abduction.

The government has described the demonstrations as self-styled “terrorist” activities. Authorities say no one has been killed during protests and more than 40 have been injured.

Bashir, a de facto figurehead due to his indictment by the ICC, has already warned against interfering in Sudan’s internal affairs.

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The death toll from the protests, which began in mid-July, reached 35 on Sunday.

The Sudanese government has been criticized for the repressive crackdown, and rumors of a coup attempt spread through Khartoum on Wednesday. The National Consensus Forces said pro-government groups had been planning to arrest Bashir.

Al-Bashir was elected to lead Sudan in 1989, just months after coming to power in an armed military coup.

Sudan’s political crisis stems in part from Bashir’s decision to scrap an informal deal between the ruling party and key opposition parties and organizations in May 2016 that mandated elections be held in three years’ time.

The deal paved the way for the North’s first multi-party election in 2013, but critics said it gave Bashir a new lease of life after he was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 for allegedly masterminding atrocities in Darfur.

As an apparent response to the protests, police have fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse demonstrators. The United Nations has expressed concern over the health of several protestors and journalists who have been injured and detained.

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