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Sudanese paramilitary group refers own intelligence chief for investigation over activist killing

The Sudanese Rapid Support Forces have suppressed protests before [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 December, 2020

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The powerful Sudanese Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group has referred its own intelligence chief and other personnel for investigation over the killing of political activist Bahaa Eddine Nouri.

A powerful Sudanese paramilitary group has referred its own intelligence chief and other personnel for questioning over the arrest and killing of a man earlier this month, state media said on Monday.

Political activist Bahaa Eddine Nouri, 45, was snatched on December 16 from a cafe in the southern Khartoum district of Kalakla by men in plain clothes who were driving a vehicle without license plates, according to local media.

Days later, his family found his body bearing signs of torture at a hospital morgue in Omdurman, the capital's twin city, triggering a public outcry.

"The Rapid Support Forces head of intelligence services and officers involved in the arrest of Bahaa Eddine Nouri were referred to investigation," the SUNA news agency reported, quoting RSF spokesman Jamal Jumaa, but without providing any names.

"The RSF extended condolences over the death of Bahaa Eddine Nouri who died following his arrest by the RSF's intelligence services," SUNA added.

The reason for Nouri's arrest has still not been disclosed.

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Later on Monday, the prosecutor's office said an autopsy of his body showed that he had sustained several injuries that led to his death.

SUNA, quoting the prosecutor's office, said that several people suspected of killing the activist had been arrested and referred for criminal charges, without specifying who had been arrested. 

Sudan is undergoing a rocky political transition following the military's April 2019 ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir amid unprecedented protests against his three-decade-rule.

On Sunday, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) -- an umbrella group which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests -- called in a statement for renewed demonstrations, if the government and RSF failed to take action against Nouri's killers within 15 days.

Protests in Sudan continued for months after Bashir's downfall, eventually forcing the military into power-sharing with civilians in a fractious three-year transition arrangement that began in August last year.

The SPA added that action should include removing the immunity of and investigating those who participated in Nouri's "killing and torture".

It also demanded the closure of RSF detention facilities and release of people in their custody, or transfer to police detention.

The RSF is led by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, known as Hemedti, a senior member of both the original military council that replaced Bashir and the subsequent power-sharing ruling body.

The paramilitary group largely drew its personnel from Darfur's Janjaweed militias, which were accused by rights groups of committing atrocities in the Darfur conflict that began in 2003.

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