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Mass grave found of Sudanese conscripts killed in 1998: prosecutor

Regime officials claimed the men drowned in the Nile river [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 June, 2020

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A group of conscripts were killed after attempting to escape a Sudanese military base for the Eid al-Adha holidays in 1998.
Sudan's public prosecutor announced Monday the discovery of a mass grave of conscripts killed in 1998 after trying to flee a military camp. 

The committee tasked with investigating the killings at Ailafoon military camp "found the mass grave in the past four days after hearing witness accounts", said public prosecutor Tagelsir al-Hebr, without giving details on the number of bodies found.

"The grave was exhumed and now the committee will continue to work with forensic authorities and examine the evidence," said Wael Ali Saeed, a member of the investigation committee. 

The Ailafoon military camp, located southeast of the capital Khartoum, was used for training new conscripts under the rule of now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir.  

In 1998, a group of conscripts were killed as they attempted to escape the base for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holidays.

The Sudanese government said at the time that 55 young conscripts who fled the military base drowned when their overloaded boat capsized in the Blue Nile river. 

Opposition groups accused the Khartoum government of carrying out the killings and reported a higher death toll of more than a 100.

Many Sudanese families reported that their sons went missing and their remains were never found.

Compulsory military service was widespread under Bashir, who used conscripts in the civil war against rebels in the oil-rich south, which seceded in 2011.  

Sudan's military ousted Bashir in April 2019 following mass protests against his 30-year rule.

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