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Pope Francis calls for 'peace, dialogue' in Sudan after Khartoum massacre

Protesters on Monday began a civil disobedience campaign in Sudan [AFP]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2019

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Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to the violence in Sudan, where paramilitary forces have killed at least 117 people over the past week.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for peace in Sudan after a week of deadly violence in the capital Khartoum.

Paramilitary and security forces on Monday stormed a 58-day-long peaceful sit-in, reportedly beating and shooting at unarmed protesters, raping doctors and throwing tens of dead bodies into the river Nile.

At least 118 people were killed and hundreds injured in the massacre and ongoing crackdown, according to the Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors (CCSD).

"The news coming from Sudan is giving rise to pain and concern," the pope said in his weekly address to crowds in St Peter's Square, according to Reuters.

"We pray for these people, so that the violence ceases and the common good is sought in the dialogue."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday met with opposition leaders and the governing military junta separately, offering to mediate a peaceful transition to civilian rule.

It is unclear, however, if negotiations mediated by Abiy will go forward.

Unconfirmed reports allege major divisions in the ruling military council, as well as several resignations and possible purges of military figures disloyal to the council's deputy leader, who is seen to be responsible for the massacre on Monday.

Sudanese protesters on Sunday launched a civil disobedience campaign and general strike in an effort to force the ruling military junta to cease the violence and hand over power to civilians.

Activists have reported arrests and beatings of opposition activists as paramilitary militias roam the streets, dismantling barricades set up by demonstrators to shield their neighbourhoods from more violence.

It is unclear at this time to what point vital industries have been paralysed by the disobedience effort, but eyewitnesses and social media activists reported empty streets across the capital and the country.

Eight Khartoum hospitals have also been forced to shut their doors due to harassment and the looting of medical supplies, the Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said on Sunday, adding that an additional three public hospitals had been partially closed.

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