Sudanese security forces shot and killed six people, including an army officer, in overnight clashes with protesters behind the uprising that drove President Omar al-Bashir from power last month, a medical union said Tuesday.
The killings took place after nightfall on Monday, when protests in Sudan usually swell during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that is marked by dawn to dusk fasting.
Just hours earlier, Sudanese prosecutors had announced that they have charged al-Bashir with involvement in killing and incitement to kill protesters during the uprising, according to the state news agency SUNA.
It was not immediately clear what punishment he might face. Protest organizers say security forces killed around 100 demonstrators during the four months of rallies leading to al-Bashir’s overthrow on April 11.
Al-Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur conflict in the 2000s, but Sudan’s ruling military council has said it would not extradite him to the ICC at The Hague.
The Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the Sudanese Professionals Association that has been spearheading the protests since December, said the latest six fatalities included an army officer. The clashes took place in several locations across the country, including the ongoing sit-in area outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, the union said.
In Khartoum, the clashes erupted as the protesters were expanding their sit-in area and setting up barricades to block off major streets. The barricades were meant to keep up the pressure on the army generals as the protesters resumed negotiations with the military earlier on Monday on a transitional government, while also calling for more demonstrations nationwide.
The ruling military council confirmed the death of an army major and said three troops were wounded at the sit-in.
Since the military removed al-Bashir, he has been imprisoned in Khartoum. The demonstrators, however, have remained in the streets, demanding the military hand over to civilian rule.
Footage circulating online late Monday showed protesters blocking roads in Khartoum with burning tires and tree branches. Other footage showed men from the Rapid Support Forces forcibly dispersing protesters. The paramilitary force, which has led counterinsurgency campaigns in Darfur and other regions, is led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council.
The Sudanese Professional Association said the road closures were in response to the military council’s delay in handing over power to civilians. It has called for another march on Tuesday. The protest leaders have also threatened a general strike and civil disobedience.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the military council, condemned the latest violence, accusing unnamed “circles of trying to abort a deal” between the council and the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the SPA.
Military chief Gen. Hashim Ahmed told reporters on Tuesday that the military “did not fire a single bullet on the Sudanese people” during the overnight violence.