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Sudan army blames bank security for killing children at protest

Teenagers were rallying against food and bread shortages, witnesses say 

Thursday 01 August 2019 15:58 BST
Civilians rushed into hospitals as Sudanese forces violently clear sit-in

A senior Sudanese army commander has blamed a bank’s security force for killing children protesting in El-Obeid earlier this week.

At least six people, including four children, were killed at the student protest in the city on Monday.

Opposition-linked doctors said they died after military forces broke up the rally.

The teenagers were protesting against fuel and bread shortages, residents said.

Sudan has been in turmoil since the overthrow of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.

Lieutenant General Jamal Aldin Omar Ibrahim, head of the Transitional Military Council’s security committee, said: "The force which was guarding the Sudanese French Bank fired the live rounds that led to the regrettable losses in the state of North Kordofan."

He was reading a statement before officials in El-Obeid, the official SUNA news agency reported. The bank guards were a government security force, Mr Ibrahim added.

The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition of opposition groups accused military and paramilitary forces of opening fire on the high school pupils.

However, a regional governor said "infiltrators" had diverted a peaceful demonstration from its course, attacking one bank branch and trying to attack another.

Mr Ibrahim also blamed a teachers' committee associated with the Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA), a major part of the FFC, for the El-Obeid killings.

Some committee members had incited the students to leave their schools and take part in the protests, SUNA quoted him as saying.

An African Union mediator called on Wednesday for a speedy trial for those responsible for shooting the children.

The SPA, which spearheaded the protest movement that led to the overthrow of Mr al-Bashir, condemned the incident and called for nationwide protests on Thursday.

The recent killings interrupted talks between the military council and the opposition on how to run the country.

However, negotiators from both sides have made progress on the sticking points in discussions on the transition from military rule and are set to hold direct talks within 48 hours, an opposition leader said on Wednesday.


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