Extremely tense situation in sudan continues

Extremely tense situation in sudan continues

Following the violent repression of protests in sudan, the african union (AU) has suspended the country from the organization.

Effective immediately, sudan’s participation will be suspended from all AU activities until a civilian-led transitional government is in place, the AU announced via twitter on thursday. This is the only way sudan can emerge from the current crisis.

The opposition, meanwhile, reiterated its call for protests and civil disobedience. The revolution was committed to peace, it was said. Security forces on monday violently broke up a sit-in in the sudanese capital of khartoum that had lasted for weeks and contributed significantly to the overthrow of president omar al-bashir.

There are differing estimates of the number of victims of the violence in recent days. According to a medical association, the number of dead has now risen to more than 100 and the number of injured to 500. More than 40 bodies have been recovered from the nile river near khartoum. Sudan’s health ministry disputed the death toll, saying 61 people had died. Two bodies have also been recovered from the nile, a senior health ministry official told a press conference.

Security forces in khartoum as well as other cities in sudan continue to crack down on civilians, the SPA union confederation reported. Some people were killed in their homes by security forces, the medical association said. In addition, doctors are having severe difficulties treating the injured, as many hospitals are either inaccessible or overcrowded and there is a shortage of doctors. In many parts of the country, the internet and mobile networks were still restricted or switched off.

President al-bashir, who had ruled the country with a heavy hand, was toppled by the forces of conflict in april after three decades in power. The coup was preceded by months of mass protests. Since then, the military and the opposition have been struggling to form a transitional government. The talks were broken off a few weeks ago because the two sides could not agree on who should have the say in the government.

After monday’s violence, the military leadership in the country initially ended negotiations with the opposition and announced all concessions. However, after massive international pressure, the military transitional council agreed to resume the talks. The opposition initially waved it off.

For the violence, many see the responsibility of the rapid reaction forces (RSF). The RSF are officially a unit of the armed forces, but act largely autonomously. Chief mohammed hamdan daglu (called hemeti) is number two in the transitional council.

Amnesty international criticized the RSF’s actions as "murderous riots". Netsanet belay, the organization’s africa director, called on the UN security council and the african union peace and security council to "act immediately to bring the perpetrators of this violence to justice.". The U.S. Department of defense also called on the transitional military council and the RSF "to renounce violence and reengage with the freedom forces.".

Sudan, in northeastern africa, with a population of 41 million, is one of the 25 poorest countries in the world and is in the midst of a severe economic crisis, which was the main trigger for the mass protests.

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