Sudanese security forces kill young boy in hit-and-run
A five-year-old boy was killed in Sudan early on Wednesday after security forces ran him and his six-year-old brother over, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said.
This follows rampant accusations that Sudan's long-feared National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) have attacked protesters with extreme force and tortured detainees during President Omar al-Bashir’s crackdown on ongoing protests.
"We hoped that there would be a possibility, even if was a very small percentage, for us to deny this news in the past hours, but it was the will of God," said the statement.
Moayad Yasser Jumaa was killed and his brother Mohammad suffered severe chest injuries after allegedly being hit by a Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to the Sudanese security sources in al-Drousham, according to a statement by the CCSD, which is among a number of unions that have been central in organising protests throughout Sudan since mid-December.
The Land Cruiser struck the boys' house and then sped away, social media users claimed. Unverified photos of Mohammad in a hospital bed and the body of Moayad have spread on social media, igniting rage and upset among Sudanese users. Photos and videos published later claimed to show his burial.
Sudanese former football player Faisal Ajab tweeted: "In my country the dogs of the security forces run over children with Land Cruisers, harass women and kill young men. Are there not men in the army who will protect our women from harassment and our children from being run over? Or did they buy [your loyalty] with money and positions? #JustFall".
Protesters took to the International Hospital in Bahri, north Khartoum, where Mohammad is currently hospitalised, to demonstrate against the actions of the security services on Wednesday morning.
Osman Abu Bakr, a Sudanese Twitter user apparently present at the protest, reported that the brothers' mother was crying, to which demonstrators responded: "We are all your sons". In another video, the boys' mother makes an emotional plea, shouting "I'm looking for justice for my son".
Demonstrators gathered at the hospital were then beaten by security forces, videos on social media showed.
Toyota Land Cruisers, such as the one which hit the Jumaa boys, have become synonymous with the NISS. A video distributed on social media last week appeared to show two NISS Land Cruisers attempting to run over protesters, before crashing into one another.
Sudan analyst Eric Reeves called on Toyota earlier in February to fulfill its commitments to "corporate social responsibility" and stop selling Land Cruisers to the NISS.
"Does the Japanese government care that Toyota vehicles are themselves being used as lethal weapons against civilians in Sudan?" he tweeted.
Activist group Sudanese Translator for Change called Toyota a "major partner of the Sudanese regime in wars and violations against the people of Sudan".
The company faced similar criticism after revelations in 2015 that the Islamic State group had acquired hundreds of new Toyota Land Cruisers and Hilux trucks. Toyota said that it had a policy against selling directly to anyone who might modify the vehicles for terrorist or paramilitary activity but could not control the sale of the vehicles through third parties.
The NISS were also given sweeping new powers on Monday to search any building, restrict the movement of people and public transport, arrest individuals suspected of a crime of violating the emergency law and seize assets or property during investigations.
Protests erupted in mid-December when a government decision to cut surpluses led to tripled bread prices, exacerbating the financial situation of many in a country which has witnessed a severe economic decline in recent years.
The bread protests quickly spread across the country and took on a broader political message - calling on Bashir, who took power in a 1989 military coup, to step down.
Sudanese officials claim 30 people have died in protest-related violence, but activists put the tally at 57. They also say some of those killed died under torture.
Human Rights Watch says at least 51 have been killed during the brutal crackdown.
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