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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sudan El-Obeid killings ‘ploy to scuttle deal’

The shooting of four schoolchildren and an adult during a demonstration in Sudan’s North Kordofan state on Monday is part of a ploy to scupper a transition to civilian rule, a member of the main protest group in Sudan has said.

“It is continuation of a series of massacres adopted by supporters of the past regime,” Hamid Aldood of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the group that spearheaded protests leading to Omar al-Bashir’s ousting as president in April.

He said that whenever there were positive steps towards any agreement between the ruling military council and the opposition “jihadi units and the battalions will start spoiling the political agreement”.

BBC Africa security correspondent Tomi Oladipo says such protests in Sudan are usually countered by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which was behind the 3 June massacre in which more than 120 people were reportedly killed in the capital, Khartoum.

The RSF has its roots in the conflict in Darfur, where it was known as the Janjaweed, an Arab militia.

Videos emerging from El-Obeid in North Kordofan show students in uniform chanting – their cries for better living conditions often drowned out by heavy gunfire, our reporter says.

In one video, an armed officer is seen approaching the crowd and firing to disperse them.

According to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, an organisation affiliated to the pro-democracy protesters, at least 62 people were wounded in El-Obeid.

The authorities have since declared a state of emergency in the area and a night time curfew.

Reuters reports that the head of Sudan’s ruling military council has said there must be immediate accountability over the incident, according to state news agency Suna.

“What happened in El-Obeid is a regrettable and upsetting matter and the killing of peaceful citizens is unacceptable and rejected and a crime that requires immediate and deterrent accountability,” Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is quoted as saying.

The military council and opposition were due to resume talks about forming a power-sharing government.

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