Sudanese Rally, Demand Rulers Leave 11/26 06:13
CAIRO (AP) -- Thousands of Sudanese took to the streets on Thursday in the
capital of Khartoum, renewing their demand for a fully civilian government and
denouncing the country's military rulers who were behind the October coup.
Since the takeover, protesters have repeatedly taken to the streets in some
of the largest demonstrations in the past years. Sudanese security forces have
cracked down on the rallies and have killed more than 40 protesters so far,
according to activist groups.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese Doctors Committee, which is part of the
pro-democracy movement, said that 17 people were killed in clashes between Arab
and non-Arab tribes in the restive province of West Darfur last week. The
tribal violence is unrelated to the anti-coup protests.
The U.N. mission to Sudan on Thursday expressed serious concern over reports
of the killings in the Darfur area of Jebel Moon. It appeared that reports of
the violence were only now emerging due to the near-complete communications
blackout imposed after the coup.
Thursday's demonstrations followed the military's signing of a power-sharing
deal with the prime minister, after he was released from house arrest and
reinstated by the generals as head of government. The agreement came almost a
month after the generals orchestrated the coup that deposed Prime Minister
Abdalla Hamdok and detained dozens of politicians and activists.
Hamdok's reinstatement was the biggest concession made by the military since
its Oct. 25 coup but leaves the country's transition to democracy mired in
crisis. Sudan's key pro-democracy groups and political parties have dismissed
the deal as falling short of their demands for a fully civilian rule.
Sudan has been struggling with its transition to a democratic government
since the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019, following a mass
uprising against three decades of his rule.
Protesters marched Thursday through Khartoum, beating drums and waving
Sudanese flags. Many chanted: "The people want to bring down the regime" and
"Woe to the military!"
The Sudanese Professionals Association, the group that spearheaded the
uprising that culminated in al-Bashir's ouster, had called for the rallies and
vowed to carry on with protests until "the corrupt military junta is brought
down and prosecuted for their crimes."
Similar protests were held elsewhere in Sudan, including in the provinces of
Kassala, North Darfur, West Kordofan and Northern Sudan. Activists circulated
videos on social media showing tear gas being fired at protesters. There was no
immediate word of any injuries.
The deal that Hamdok signed with the military on Sunday envisions an
independent, technocratic Cabinet to be led by the prime minister until new
elections are held. However, the government would still remain under military
oversight though Hamdok claimed he will have the power to appoint ministers.
The agreement has angered Sudan's pro-democracy movement, which accuses
Hamdok of allowing himself to serve as a fig leaf for continued military rule.
The deal also stipulates that all political detainees arrested following the
Oct. 25 coup be released. So far, several ministers and politicians have been
freed. The number of those still in detention remains unknown.
On Wednesday, Hamdok told a local Sudanese television channel that unless
all are released, "the deal will be worthless."
The statement by the doctors committee on the tribal violence said clashes
on Nov. 17 in West Darfur's Jebel Moon killed 17 and wounded at least 12.
Earlier, Adam Regal, a spokesman for a local organization that helps run
refugee camps in Darfur, told The Associated Press that the conflict grew out
of a land dispute. He alleged that Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary unit
controlled by the country's second most powerful general, had eventually
intervened on behalf of Arab tribes. The clashes subsided on Friday, he said.
The International Organization for Migration said Wednesday that 9,800
people have been displaced in the area of Jebel Moon. Some fled to nearby
villages and others crossed the border into Chad. At least six villages were
affected, some of them were burned down, according to the U.N. migration agency.
In January, tribal violence killed 470 people in Darfur, in one of the worst
episodes since the vicious war of the 2000s there. The latest bloodletting has
sparked fears the region could slide back into conflict and raised questions
over the government's ability to implement a peace deal and protect civilians.
Al-Bashir had waged a scorched-earth counterinsurgency in Darfur against
ethnic minority rebels who blamed the government for economic and political
marginalization. Government forces and primarily Arab militias known as
janjaweed are accused of widespread atrocities in the conflict, which killed
over 300,000 people and forced 2.7 million to flee. Al-Bashir, now imprisoned
in Khartoum, was indicted for war crimes and genocide by the International
Criminal Court for the Darfur violence.
The fighting in Darfur gradually declined but violence continues to flare,
as Arab militias roaming the provinces remain heavily armed and retain control
over land they seized.