Sudan: Dozens die as military cancels deal with protesters | News | DW | 05.06.2019
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Sudan: Dozens die as military cancels deal with protesters

The military council said it will not uphold an agreement with the opposition after it rejected a plan for quicker elections. Demonstrators called the deaths of more than 100 people a "bloody massacre."

The death toll from a military crackdown on protesters staging a sit-in outside Sudan's military headquarters has risen to 108, a doctors' group associated with the demonstrations said on Wednesday.

Security forces dispersed protesters on Monday in the deadliest day of violence in the country since President Omar al-Bashir was forced from power in April.

The Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors, which is close to the protest movement, updated the death toll to 101 people, after 40 bodies were recovered from the Nile river. 

Streets in central Khartoum remained on lockdown on Wednesday, and military vehicles were patrolling its twin city Omdurman, firing shots into the air. 

Army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Wednesday voiced a willingness to meet with pro-democracy organizers again. He said that the military "regret the events" of the previous day.

"We in the military council open our arms to negotiate with no restriction but the national interest to continue building a legitimate power that reflects the aspirations of the Sudanese revolution in every way," Burhan said in a televised statement.

Dispute over transition

Monday's violence came as negotiations broke down between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the protesters over how the country should transition to democracy following the end of Bashir's decades-long rule.

The two sides had first agreed to plan to hold elections in three years. In the interim, a caretaker government with a president rotating between the TMC and civilians would have been put in place.

However, the military announced after the violence on Monday that it would hold elections in nine months, and appeared to walk back promises that civilians could be part of the interim government.

The Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), one of the main protest organizers, condemned the deaths of demonstrators at the hands of security forces as a "massacre" and rejected any further negotiations with military rulers.  

UN can't reach agreement

On Tuesday evening, the UN Security Council met to discuss a statement prepared by the UK and Germany that would condemn the violence and urge both the TMC and the opposition to "continue working together towards a consensual solution to the current crisis," according to a draft seen by French news agency AFP.

However, China objected to the text and Russia insisted that the council first wait for a cue from the African Union.

Russia' deputy Ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy said that the statement was "unbalanced" and that the group needed to be "very cautious about the situation."

cw,es/se (AFP, Reuters)

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