Death toll from clashes at Sudan rallies climbs to 10

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) – Sudanese activists said yesterday that at least 10 people were killed in clashes with security forces during mass demonstrations demanding a transition to civilian rule.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese flooded the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and other areas last Sunday in the biggest protests since security forces cleared a sit-in last month. They called for the military to hand over power to civilians following the coup that ousted longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April.

Nazim Sirraj, a prominent activist, told The Associated Press yesterday that three bodies were found next to a school in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum. The three were shot dead in an area where security forces had barred protesters from marching toward a hospital and had fired tear gas to disperse them, he said.

Sirraj said the total death toll was 10, including one killed in the city of Atbara, a railway hub north of Khartoum and the birthplace of the December uprising that eventually led to al-Bashir’s ouster.

The Sudan Doctors Committee, the medical arm of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the demonstrations, confirmed the death toll.

Authorities said late Sunday that at least seven people were killed and nearly 200 wounded, including 27 wounded by bullets during the demonstrations.

The ruling military council blamed protest leaders for the deaths after they diverted the routes of their marches.

Liuetenant General Gamal Omar, a member of the council, said in a statement that it was regrettable that the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters, diverted marches toward the presidential palace and the military headquarters.

He said security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters, who hurled stones at them.

Sudanese protesters cover their faces against tear gas fumes during clashes with security forces following a mass demonstration against the country’s ruling generals in the capital Khartoum. – AFP