Death toll unclear as Sudanese protesters return to the streets of Khartoum | News | DW | 27.09.2013
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Death toll unclear as Sudanese protesters return to the streets of Khartoum

Thousands of people have again taken to the streets of Khartoum and other Sudanese cities to protest against fuel price hikes. Dozens have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces.

The protesters poured out onto the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum following Friday Muslim prayers. The demonstrators were demanding that President Omar al-Bashir step down, a day after clashes with police in which an unknown number of people were killed.

On Thursday, the authorities said that 29 people have been killed in the unrest, including a number of police officers. However, human rights groups have put the death toll at more than 50.

The Reuters news agency reported that security forces fired teargas in an effort to break up Friday's demonstration of an estimated 5,000 people in Khartoum.

Protests were also reported in the capital's twin city of Omdurman, just across the Nile River, and in Khartoum's northern Bahri district, which has seen several days of unrest.

The country's interior minister, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamad told the SUNA state news agency that security forces had arrested around 600 people suspected in connection with acts of vandalism and violence.

The latest protests broke out on Monday after a government decision to cut subsidies caused fuel prices in Sudan to virtually double overnight. The country has come under severe financial pressure since the secession of South Sudan two years ago, which saw Khartoum lose 75 percent of its crude-oil production capacity.

The demonstrations amount to the worst unrest Sudan has experienced since al-Bashir came to power in a 1989 coup. Al-Bashir has managed to cling to power over the past 24 years despite armed rebellions and US economic sanctions, as well as an indictment issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for alleged war crimes committed in Sudan's western Darfur region.

pfd/dr (APF, Reuters, dpa)