Sudan general says paramilitaries killed students

Thursday August 1 2019

protest

Sudanese students protest in the capital Khartoum on July 30, 2019, a day after teenagers were shot at a rally against shortages of bread and fuel in the town of al-Obeid. PHOTO | EBRAHIM HAMID | AFP 

By AFP

A top Sudanese general has said the six protesters including four school children killed at a rally this week were shot dead by members of a feared paramilitary force.

Tragedy struck Sudan's central city of Al-Obeid on Monday when the protesters were shot dead during a rally against a growing shortage of bread and fuel in the city.

General Jamal Omar from the country's ruling military council accused members of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of firing at the rally.

The rally was initially stopped with batons by a group of RSF forces who were guarding a nearby bank, the general told reporters in the city late Wednesday, quoted by Cairo-based Al-Ghad television network.

"This action led to a reaction from some students who threw stones at the forces," Omar said.

"This made some members of the force act in their individual capacity to open fire on protesters. We have identified those who fired live ammunition that led to the killing of the six."

Sudan's official news agency Suna reported that the accused have been handed over to authorities in North Kordofan state.

They were sacked following orders from the RSF command and would face trial, it said.

RSF is headed by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is also deputy chief of Sudan's ruling military council that seized power after the army ousted longtime president Omar al-Bashir in April.

Protest leaders have consistently accused the RSF of using excessive violence against demonstrators since the generals seized power.

An official investigation had found three senior RSF officers involved in the brutal dispersal of protesters in a raid on a weeks-long sit-in in Khartoum on June 3.

Doctors linked to the protest movement said 127 people were killed in the raid. Officials have given a much lower death toll.

Daglo has denied such accusations against the RSF, saying it was an attempt to distort the image of his force.

The RSF has its origins in Arab militias that were originally deployed by Bashir's government to suppress an ethnic minority rebellion that erupted in the western region of Darfur in 2003.

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