The Latest: Sudan protesters increase death toll to 108
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — The latest on developments in Sudan (all times local):
Sudanese protest organizers are reporting seven more deaths in the country’s political turmoil, raising the death toll to 108 since security forces attacked a pro-democracy demonstration outside military headquarters in Khartoum at the beginning of the week.
The Sudan Doctors’ Committee also says an undetermined number of additional bodies have been pulled from the Nile, on top of 40 bodies that it reported earlier.
The group says at least 509 people have been wounded since violence erupted Monday.
Egypt’s national airline, EgyptAir, says it has canceled two flights from Cairo to Sudan’s capital amid turmoil following the deadly dispersal of the Khartoum sit-in earlier this week.
EgyptAir says in a statement Wednesday that its flights late Wednesday and Thursday to Khartoum have been canceled.
The Sudanese Pilots Association has said it would take part in the civil disobedience called for by protest leaders after Monday’s attack on the protest camp outside the military’s headquarters.
The deputy head of Sudan’s ruling military council says they have begun a “fair and independent” investigation into the violent break-up of the Khartoum sit-in by protesters and other clashes.
Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, says in televised comments Wednesday: “The council has initiated an independent investigation ... an urgent and fair investigation with fast results.” He says anyone who “crossed boundaries” will be punished.
Besides his role on the military council, Dagalo leads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces that has been accused by the protesters of crashing the sit-in and chasing protesters in the streets.
Protesters say the death toll has climbed to 100 since the violent dispersal of the sit-in.
The military, meanwhile, has called Wednesday for people to move away from military barracks and headquarters across the county.
A Sudanese rebel group says security forces have arrested one of its leaders, who arrived at the capital of Khartoum last month to take part in talks the ruling military council.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North says its deputy chief, Yasir Arman, was detained Wednesday after being taken from the house where he was staying in Khartoum since May 26.
Arman returned to Khartoum to take part in talks after the military overthrow of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April.
The SPLM-N’s armed wing has fought Sudanese forces in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011.
The British ambassador in Khartoum condemned Arman’s detention as “outrageous.” Irfan Siddiq called for the military council to release him.
A leading Sudanese opposition figure is calling on protest leaders to convene for an urgent meeting to discuss the transfer of power after violent attacks by security forces on protesters that killed dozens this week.
Sadeq al-Mahdi, head of the Umma party and the country’s last freely elected government, says Wednesday the forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which has represented protesters in talks with the military, is invited for the meeting along with all parties that back the protests.
Al- Mahdi says the military council played a “crucial role” in removing autocratic President Omar al-Bashir, but has called for the council to declare its responsibility for the attack on the Khartoum sit-in and hold those implicated accountable.
He says that “unjustified escalation” from some opposition forces had been “wrong” and that he had expected “counter escalation” from the military council.
The opposition Congress party, meanwhile, is demising the military’s council to resume talks on transition. It has called for the overthrow of the ruling council for its members and other security officials accountable for the attacks on the protesters.
The party has called for fresh protests and “resistance” and to avoid direct confrontation with security forces.
Organizers of the pro-democracy protests in Sudan say 40 bodies have been retrieved from the Nile River in the capital, Khartoum.
The Sudan Doctors’ Committee says Wednesday the bodies were pulled out on Tuesday, and that the bodies have been taken by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces to an unknown location.
Including these fatalities, the death toll has climbed to 100 since the violent dispersal of a sit-in outside the military’s headquarters in Khartoum on Monday.
Sudanese protest organizers are dismissing a call by the ruling generals to resume talks, saying the military isn’t serious about negotiating with the protesters while shooting and killing them at the same time.
Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association which is leading the protests, told The Associated Press that the protesters “totally reject” the call from Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan on Wednesday for the resumption of talks.
He says “this call is not serious” because “Burhan and those under him have killed the Sudanese and are still doing it. Their vehicles patrol the streets, firing at people.”
Al-Mustafa says: “We will continue in our protests, resistance, strike and total civil disobedience.”
The United States, Norway and Britain have issued a joint statement condemning the Sudanese security forces for their violent attacks on protesters that killed dozens this week.
A statement from the three nations, released late on Tuesday, says Sudan’s ruling military council “has put the transition process and peace in Sudan in jeopardy” by ordering such attacks on protesters. It also expressed concerns the council had halted negotiations with protest leaders and cancelled all previous agreements.
The three nation’s statement came before the Sudanese military council said on Wednesday that the generals are ready to resume negotiations with the opposition.
Security forces on Monday broke up a protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. At least 60 have been killed since then, according to protest organizers.
The head of Sudan’s ruling military council says the generals are ready to resume negotiations with the opposition, after three days of a violent crackdown that has claimed 60 lives across the country.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan said on Wednesday there would be “no restriction” in talks with the leaders behind the months-long street protests.
He says: “We open our hands to negotiations with all parties ... for the interest of the nation.”
Burhan also added that those responsible for the violent beak-up of the demonstrators’ sit-in would be held accountable.
There was no immediate reaction from the protesters. The motives for the general’s apparent reversal — if sincere — were not immediately clear.
Burhan had earlier cut the negotiations and cancelled all agreed-on points between the military and the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters.
Organizers of the pro-democracy protests in Sudan say the death toll across the country since the violent dispersal of their sit-in in Khartoum earlier this week has increased to 60.
The previously reported death toll stood at 40.
The Sudan Doctors’ Committee says security forces killed at least 10 people on Wednesday in the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman.
That came after another 10 people were killed on Tuesday, including five in the White Nile state, three in Omdurman and two in Khartoum’s Bahri neighborhood.
The doctors’ committee is the medical arm of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been spearheading protests against army rule.
On Monday, security forces broke up the protest camp outside military headquarters in Khartoum, posing a new challenge to the protest movement.