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Germany: Sudan violence 'must stop immediately'

June 3, 2019

Violence in Sudan "cannot be justified," the German Foreign Ministry said after the military killed numerous peaceful protesters in Khartoum. The UN Security Council plans to hold a closed door meeting on Tuesday.

Burning tires in Khartoum
Image: Getty Images/AFP/A. Shazly

The German government condemned the deadly crackdown in Sudan on Monday, after Sudan's military reportedly opened fire at a peaceful sit-in and raided protesters' Khartoum camp site.

"This violence cannot be justified and must stop immediately," a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said in Berlin.

"We call on the negotiating parties to avoid escalation and to return to the negotiating table," he added.

Initially, a doctors' committee alied with the opposition said at least 13 people had been killed, but protest leaders later said the death toll had surpassed 30. Hundreds more people have been shot and wounded. Organizers called on demonstrators to take part in night marches and block the main roads to "paralyze public life."

Talks halted

The African country is currently ruled by a Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took power after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April. Protesters fear that the military would refuse to give up power, despite ongoing talks about an interim government.

Negotiations have been halted after the Monday killings, which the main protester group described as a "massacre."

Read more: Sudan must not become another Egypt

US points finger at military

The US, the UK, and other foreign powers also slammed the killings. The UN Security Council was expected to discuss the situation on Tuesday, after Germany and Britain requested a meeting. 

"Responsibility falls on the TMC," US embassy in Sudan said. "The TMC cannot responsibly lead the people of Sudan."

"Sudanese security forces' attacks against protesters and other civilians are wrong and must stop," the diplomats added.

Britain's ambassador Irfan Siddiq said bursts of gunfire could be heard from his residence for over an hour.

"No excuse for any such attack," he wrote on Twitter. "This. Must. Stop. Now."

He also cited reports that hospitals and clinics have been attacked.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Sudan's military used "excessive force" and called for an investigation.

"What is clear to us is that there was use of excessive force by the security forces on civilians," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. "People have died. People have been injured."

Military says they were after 'criminals'

In turn, the TMS denied it was targeting protesters and said its officers had been pursuing "criminals" in an area near the sit-in site. The suspects allegedly fled to the site and tried to hide among the protesters, causing chaos.

Read more: Sudan protesters call for civil disobedience campaign

"The Transitional Military Council regrets the way the situation unfolded, reaffirming its full commitment to the ...safety of the citizens and renews its call for negotiations as soon as possible," they said in a statement.

dj/rt (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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