UN chief condemns killings of Sudan protesters
June 03 2019 11:14 PM
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Agencies Khartoum

*Qatar calls for open dialogue including all segments of Sudanese society

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the Sudanese security forces' "excessive use of force" against peaceful protesters, after at least 13 people, including an 8-year-old child, were killed on Monday.

Unofficial sources put the toll at 30. "More than 30 protesters were killed and hundreds wounded Monday as Sudan's military council broke up a sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum," a doctors committee close to demonstrators said.

Guterres "strongly condemns the violence and reports of the excessive use of force by security personnel on civilians, that have resulted in the deaths and injury of many," a UN statement said.

Early Monday, security forces fired live rounds into the peaceful sit-in outside military headquarters in the capital Khartoum, according to opposition groups.

Guterres' remarks are the latest condemnation, after the African Union (AU) Commission called for an "immediate and transparent investigation."

Qatar said it is following with concern the recent developments in the brotherly Republic of Sudan and expressed its regret at the decision made by the security forces to forcibly disperse peaceful and unarmed Sudanese protesters.

"This could lead to serious ramifications that could negatively impact the path of peaceful transformation and the Sudanese national fabric."

In a statement , the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Qatar appeals to the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to stop the practices of its security forces against the unarmed demonstrators. Qatar also called for dialogue including all segments of the Sudanese society.

Talks about a power-sharing agreement which would pave the way for democratic elections have been ongoing for several weeks but have so far been unsuccessful.

In Geneva, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called the protestors an "inspiration" for their peaceful demonstrations and their efforts to engage with the TMC.

"This is a real setback," she said of the clampdown.

After the attack, the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), a key opposition group, said they would no longer negotiate with the TMC.

"We declare a moratorium on all political contact with the [military] junta and stop the negotiation," the SPA said in a statement.

Meanwhile, more than 110 wounded protesters had been admitted to hospitals in Khartoum, while many more were believed to have been injured during the "massacre," according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD).

Security forces have also been firing rounds of live ammunition inside Khartoum's East Nile Hospital and were chasing protesters inside the hospital's campus, the organisation added.

The SPA was appealing to international medical aid organizations to intervene and help the injured, who it said were trapped in the square, which security forces had now blocked off access to.

The US embassy in Khartoum said it believed the TMC was

responsible for the attack.

The European Union called on the TMC to "act responsibly and to respect the right of people to voice peacefully their concerns, without any threat or use of violence against them."

The SPA has called for a country-wide political strike and civil disobedience campaign in response to the attack.

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