Four killed during Sudan rally as military-protester talks begin
Four protesters were shot dead during a demonstration in the Sudanese city of Omdurman on Thursday, despite talks beginning between protest leaders and ruling military generals.
Thousands gathered for rallies in several cities across Sudan, including the capital Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman, to protest against the killing of schoolchildren earlier this week when gunfire broke out.
"Four protesters have been killed by live ammunition and several wounded at a rally in Omdurman," the doctors' committee linked to Sudan's protest movement said in a statement.
Four secondary school students were among six killed at a demonstration against commodity shortages in Al-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan in central Sudan, on Monday, leading to a fresh outbreak of protests.
A leading general from the ruling military council, Jamal Omar, accused members of the notorious paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of being responsible for the killings.
Later on Thursday, Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders began new talks over outstanding issues on the country's way forward.
"We (the negotiating team) are starting the negotiation session now," protest leader Satea al-Haj said.
Activists had called for a million-strong march across the country on Thursday to "seek justice for the victims" and condemn Monday's killings, which they too have blamed on the RSF.
"Where is the investigation committee?" chanted protesters as they marched in the Burri and Bahri districts of the capital, which witnessed the first signs of discontent against the regime of ousted president Omar al-Bashir.
Protesters also rallied once more in Al-Obeid, along with the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan, in White Nile state and in the central city of Madani, witnesses said.
Omar, a member of Sudan's ruling military council, accused elements of the RSF of opening fire at Monday's Al-Obeid rally.
"This action led to a reaction from some students who threw stones at the forces," Omar said.
"This made some members of the force act in their individual capacity to open fire on protesters. We have identified those who fired live ammunition that led to the killing of the six," he said.