87 killed, 168 wounded in Sudan’s deadly crackdown

The head of a Sudanese investigation into the violent break up of a protest by security forces said on Saturday that 87 people were killed and 168 wounded in the June 3 incident in Khartoum, citing a higher death toll than previous official estimates.

Fath al-Rahman Saeed, the head of the investigative committee appointed by the public prosecutor, said some members of the security forces fired live ammunition at protesters who were holding a sit-in to demand the military cede power.

He told a news conference that three officers had violated orders by moving forces into the sit-in area outside the Defence Ministry, a focal point for protests that had led to the ouster of long-time President Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

Some outlaws exploited this gathering and formed another gathering in what is known as the Columbia area, where negative and illegal practices took place.

Saeed said 17 of those killed were in the square occupied by protesters in the worst bout of violence since Bashir was toppled, adding that 48 of the wounded were hit by bullets.

An order was also issued to whip protesters, he added.

The Health Ministry had previously put the death toll at 61, while opposition medics have said 127 people were killed and 400 wounded in the dispersal.

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“Some outlaws exploited this gathering and formed another gathering in what is known as the Columbia area, where negative and illegal practices took place,” Saeed said.

“It became a security threat, forcing the authorities to make necessary arrangements to clear the area,” he said.

There was no immediate reaction to his comments from the opposition coalition Forces of Freedom and Change, which is negotiating with the ruling military council to finalise an agreement for a three-year transition to elections.

The committee found that some members of the joint force tasked with clearing the Columbia area “exceeded their duties and entered the sit-in square … and fired heavily and randomly”, leading to the killing and wounding of some protesters.

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