Sudanese activists say 5 killed at student protest

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CAIRO (AP) — Sudanese security forces fired on student demonstrators in a central province on Monday, killing at least five people, protest organizers said.

The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee said the demonstration in Obeid, in North Kordofan province, was organized by high school students to protest military rule. It said several people were wounded, some critically.

The committee is part of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which spearheaded months of protests leading to the military overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April. The protesters have continued to take to the streets, demanding a swift transition to civilian rule.

The SPA posted a video showing hundreds of students, many wearing backpacks, protesting in Obeid as gunshots echo in the background. The group called for Sudanese to take part in demonstrations in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere to condemn the violence.

Mustafa Mohammed, a doctor at the main Obeid hospital, said it had received five bodies and was treating dozens of wounded students.

“Most of the wounded have been shot in the legs, head and stomach,” he said.

Local authorities suspended classes in all schools across North Kordofan and declared a nightly curfew in parts of the province “until further notice.”

Maj. Gen. al-Sadiq Abdallah, North Kordofan’s governor, said he formed a fact-finding committee to investigate the violence and vowed to bring those responsible before a court.

The U.N. children agency condemned the violence against school children and called for authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“The children, aged between 15 and 17 years old, were protesting the commencement of the school year amid the political uncertainty in Sudan,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF’s representative in Sudan. “No child should be buried in their school uniform.”

The protest coalition said the crackdown was carried out by the military and the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary unit that grew out of the feared Janjaweed militias unleashed during the Darfur conflict in the 2000s. The RSF is led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who is also the deputy leader of the military council.

The protesters say the RSF was also behind the dispersal of their main sit-in in Khartoum on June 3, which they say killed nearly 130 people. The state prosecutor put the death toll at 87.

Sediq Yousef, a negotiator for the protest coalition, said there should be no further talks with the military until it halts its “violations.”

“We cannot sit at a negotiating table with those who allow the killing of revolutionaries,” he said.

The two sides plan to meet Tuesday to discuss a power-sharing deal. They agreed on the outline of an agreement earlier this month but remain divided on a number of key issues, including whether military commanders should be immune from prosecution for violence against protesters.

Also Monday, Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council, met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in his first visit to Cairo since the military ouster of al-Bashir.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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