Sudanese protester shot dead amid crucial power-sharing talks

Sudanese protester shot dead amid crucial power-sharing talks
3 min read
14 July, 2019
Paramilitaries from the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces shot dead a protester in the town of El-Souk as the final details of a power sharing agreement were being ironed out.
The Rapid Support Forces are accused of committing atrocities in Sudan [Getty]

Members of a feared Sudanese paramilitary force shot dead a civilian on Sunday in a town southeast of Khartoum as angry residents protested against the paramilitaries, witnesses and doctors said.

The incident occurred in El-Souk in the state of Sinnar when residents of the town rallied demanding that members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leave the town, witnesses told Agence France Presse.

"Residents of the town had gathered outside the office of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) to complain about the RSF," a witness said.

"RSF members deployed and initially started shooting in the air but later they opened fire at residents, killing a man and wounding several other people," said the witness, who declined to be named for security reasons.

A committee of doctors linked to the country's umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, confirmed the incident. The victim was identified as Anwar Hassan Idris.

Idris "was killed by a gunshot in his head fired by Rapid Support Forces militia," the Sudan Doctors’ Committee said in a statement, adding that several other people were wounded.

Witnesses said El-Souk residents had gone to the NISS office to complain after the RSF raided a youth club on Saturday during a rally held to mourn the deaths of demonstrators killed in a Khartoum sit-in on June 3.

"During that rally the RSF raided a youth club and beat the youths there," one witness said.

On Saturday, protesters held rallies in several cities and towns across the country, including in Khartoum, to mourn those killed in a raid on a protest camp on June 3 in the capital.

Protesters and rights groups allege that the raid on the sit-in outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum was carried out by members of the RSF.

More than 100 demonstrators were killed in the raid on that day when armed men in military fatigues cracked down on protesters who had been camping out there for weeks, doctors close to the protesters have said.

The RSF grew out of militias accused of committing atrocities in the western state of Darfur in the early 2000s. 

RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is the deputy chief of Sudan's ruling military council that seized power after the army's ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April following nationwide protests against his rule.

Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, has dismissed claims that the RSF was responsible for the deadly June crackdown, saying it was an  attempt to distort the image of his force.

The killing took place as difficult negotiations took place in Khartoum over the final details of an agreement which will see the military sharing power with civilians before elections are held.

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