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Sudan health ministry says ‘no more than 46’ dead in crackdown

Written by Maritime First

…As African Union suspends Sudan, demands civilian administration***

Sudan’s health ministry on Thursday said,  “no more than 46” people died in a crackdown on Khartoum protesters, far fewer than the 100 dead reported by doctors close to the demonstrators.

The statement came shortly after the medical association the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD) said 40 bodies were recovered from the River Nile, bringing the death toll from Monday’s violent attack to about 100.

According to the CCSD, over 300 people were injured.

“There is mounting international pressure to resolve the crisis, which started on Monday,’’ the CCSD said.

It added that the security forces also fired live ammunition at a mass sit-in in front of military headquarters in the capital Khartoum.

Sudanese opposition groups on Wednesday rejected talks with the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which offered to reopen power-sharing negotiations and hold general elections within seven to nine months.

The TMC has been in power since long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was deposed and arrested in a peaceful military coup in April that followed months of anti-government protests.

However, protesters say the new military rulers are a continuation of al-Bashir’s former regime and have vowed to continue their sit-in, which was completely cleared after Monday’s crackdown.

In the meantime, the African Union on Thursday said it had suspended Sudan until a civilian government was formed, intensifying international pressure on the country’s new military rulers to give up power.

“Ethiopia meanwhile will launch a mediation effort on Friday,’’ diplomatic sources in Khartoum said.

The moves took place after security forces cleared protesters from a sit-in camp in central Khartoum on Monday.

Security Forces have, however, killed dozens of people in the worst violence since President Omar al-Bashir was removed by the military in April after four months of generally peaceful protests.

The opposition had been in talks with an interim military council over a civilian-led transition to democracy, but the negotiations faltered and this week’s crackdown marked a turning point in the power struggle.

The United Nations and several foreign governments have condemned the bloodshed.

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council in a meeting in Addis Ababa, decided to suspend Sudan from all AU activities until a civilian government has been formed.

Suspension is the African Union’s normal response to any interruption of constitutional rule in one of its Member-State.

“Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was due to visit Khartoum on Friday to try to mediate between the military and an opposition alliance,’’ a diplomatic source at the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum said.

The source told Reuters that Abiy would meet members of the Transitional Military Council and the opposition’s Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces during his one-day visit.


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