United Nations health agency concerned over Sudan crackdown

Larry Hoffman
June 10, 2019

The message from protest leaders to the young Sudanese on the streets of the capital has been consistent ahead of Sunday's call to began a comprehensive campaign of civil disobedience.

The SPA said airport workers and pilots were taking part in the civil disobedience, and posted photos of a deserted Khartoum global airport.

"The RSF, the special military force which killed, raped and tortured thousands in Darfur, brings its murderous rampage to the capital", Amnesty said.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is in Sudan to mediate between the ruling military and the country's protest leaders amid an army crackdown that has killed over 100 people this week.

The campaign got underway almost a week after the assault on demonstrators at a sit-in outside army headquarters, which followed talks breaking down between protest leaders and military rulers.

The pan-African body has warned of further action if power is not transferred to civilian authority - a key demand of pro-democracy protesters.

In a bid to revive the negotiations, the Ethiopian premier held separate meetings with the two sides in Khartoum on Friday.

But instead of releasing prisoners, it is alleged security forces arrested Mohammad Esmat, a member of the opposition delegation shortly after he met with Abiy, sources from his party said.

"The kingdom hopes that all parties in Sudan will choose wisdom and constructive dialogue to preserve security and stability in Sudan, protect the people of Sudan from all harm, while maintaining Sudan's interests and unity", the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Witnesses said the RSF, whose leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is deputy head of the Transitional Military Council, led last Monday's raid.

Opposition politician Mohamed Esmat was detained on Friday, and Ismail Jalab, leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), was also taken from his home.

Sudanese security forces later arrested both men without giving any reason, their aides told AFP on Saturday.

In April, the movement forced the military to remove Sudan's long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.

"People are trying to store supplies for the civil disobedience", one protester, who did not want to be named, told MEE.

Rights group Amnesty International blamed the RSF for this week's violence.

Digeir said the military council should also restore access to the internet and allow public and media freedoms.

The downtown business district was largely shut and buses were not running in several districts, but private vehicles were ferrying passengers in some areas. Troops fired on unarmed protesters then mounted a wider operation crackdown in the following days, they said.

In the northern suburb of Bahri, connecting and smaller roads in the neighbourhood were blocked by protesters putting up makeshift barricades made from rocks, bricks and tree trunks.

BBC World Service Africa editor Mary Harper says the latest move suggests that the mediation efforts by Abiy Ahmed have indeed not been taken seriously by the military.

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