Tue. Nov 30th, 2021

Sudan’s police chief on Thursday defended his security forces, saying they use only legal means to contain anti-coup protests. The Sudanese have been taking to the streets in masses since last month’s military takeover, which upended the country’s fragile transition to democracy.

Speaking in Khartoum, Lieutenant-General Zain Al-abidin Othman said “infiltrators and saboteurs” were behind the violence, which has led to recent killings of at least 15 people after officers fired live rounds during demonstrations on Thursday.

The Sudanese have been taking to the streets in masses since last month’s military takeover, which has threatened the country’s fragile transition to democracy.

Protest leaders in Sudan have repeatedly called on demonstrators to abide by nonviolent tactics in their attempt to halt the coup.

Wednesday’s fatalities occurred in mostly in Khartoum’s district of Bahri, and the Sudanese capital’s twin city of Omdurman, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee.

The deaths brought the overall death toll since the coup to at least 39.

Despite the claims by the Doctors Committee, during his news conference Othman said police were dealing with protests and vigils unarmed.

“Forces are leaving without firearms to secure protests,” he told reporters, adding that he believed any cause of death must wait for “autopsy order and the mortuary report”.

A video posted on social media by the Omdurman Resistance Committees, a group that coordinates and monitors demonstrations, showed protesters scattering as gunshots rang out in Khartoum.

The footage also showed people carrying the body of a female protester – 25-year-old nurse Set Elnfoor – into a house amidst the gunfire.

Wednesday’s fatalities occurred in mostly in Khartoum’s district of Bahri, and the Sudanese capital’s twin city of Omdurman, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee.

The deaths brought the overall death toll since the coup to at least 39. Hundreds have also been wounded, the committee says.

The Sudanese have been taking to the streets in masses since last month’s military takeover, which has threatened the country’s fragile transition to democracy.

However, on Thursday, Sudan’s Chief of Police Lt. General Khalid Mahdi Ibrahim defended his security forces, saying they use only legal means to contain anti-coup protests.

At a press conference in Khartoum, Ibrahim insisted that police are protecting civilians and primarily use tear gas to contain violence at the protests.

He repeated claims that there have also been police casualties and promised investigations into any deaths, civilian or other.

His statements contradict accounts from those at the protests and doctors who have been treating the wounded.

Protest leaders in Sudan have repeatedly called on demonstrators to abide by nonviolent tactics in their attempt to halt the coup.

The coup, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government, has drawn international criticism.

Since the coup, mobile and internet services have been in near-complete dysfunction in Sudan — an apparent tactic to limit calls for gatherings and the spread of information.

On Thursday, the Sudan’s state news network announced authorities have restored communications across the country. But NetBlocks advocacy group said Thursday that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp could still not be accessed through mobile networks.

The Africa News

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