Death toll in Sudan massacre exceeds 100

Professionals and workers across multiple sectors are vowing to participate in open strike and civil disobedience until the junta cedes power to civilian forces.

June 06, 2019 by Pavan Kulkarni
Photo: Al Jazeera

Following the June 3 massacre wherein over 100 protesters were killed by the militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF) while the regular army stood by, the African Union has suspended Sudan until it hands over power to civilian forces. Sudan’s opposition alliance has also refused the military junta’s offer to resume talks until power is transferred to civilians. The body responsible for the massacre, the RSF, is headed by the junta’s vice-president.

The death toll in the June 3 massacre was reported to be 60 yesterday morning. Then, at least another 40 more corpses floating in the Nile were retrieved, taking the death toll to over 100. Multiple sources told People’s Dispatch that more corpses are still afloat. The massacre took place while RSF units tried to clear the space outside the army HQ in Khartoum where protesters were gathered.

Some of the bodies recovered from the river had bullet wounds, while others were hacked with machetes, Radio Dabanga reported. The still from a video shared on social media showed bodies recovered from the river loaded on the back of a pick up truck. The body of at least one of the victims had a heavy stone tied to it.

The hundreds who were injured in the attack were rushed to hospitals. But soon, RSF men barged into various hospitals, beat up and shot many medics and forced the patients out, before laying siege to the hospitals. Tents of the medics pitched at the site of the mass demonstration to provide first-aid were also burnt down, and many were arrested.

Over 500 kilometers to the south of Khartoum, the sit-in before the local army post in Ad-Damazin, the capital city of Blue Nile state, was also violently dispersed by the RSF, who burnt down all the tents pitched there by the demonstrators. The demonstration in the city of Atbara, the capital of River Nile state, where the anti-regime uprising began on December 19, was also cleared by force.

In many towns and cities across Sudan, including Ed Damazin and Atbara, mass-demonstrations broke out the very next day. Protesters blocked all the major roads with barricades and blocked public transport across Atbara, which has a history of labor militancy, bringing the city to a standstill.

الشعب السوداني في قمة بطولته و انتصاره الحتميمن أمام مستشفى الأربعين نهار اليوم#عيد_شهيد‬⁩ ‬⁩‏⁧‫#مجزره_القياده_العامه‬⁩‏⁧‫#العصيان_المدني_الشامل

Gepostet von ‎تجمع المهنيين السودانيين‎ am Mittwoch, 5. Juni 2019

Protest outside of a hospital on Wednesday

However, except for sporadic barricading and small demonstrations, the streets of Khartoum were deserted on Tuesday as the notorious militiamen of the RSF, heavily armed, patrolled the city on pick-up trucks, targeting anyone found on the streets with beatings, shootings and rapes.

This is confirmed by footage uploaded on social media by those activists who managed to bypass the internet and press blockade imposed by the junta, which continues today.

Amidst this reign of terror, the junta announced its withdrawal from all the previous agreements it had reached with the opposition forces. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the mass demonstrations since December, had already announced its withdrawal from any further negotiations, along with other political parties which had come together with it to form an umbrella organization called the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) to represent the protesters.

That evening and the morning after, the soldiers of the regular armed forces clashed in Khartoum, journalist Yousra Elbagir tweeted, citing sources on the ground. However, another twitter user rebuked her, saying “No skirmishes were confirmed.. [This rumor is an attempt] to polish the army’s image again..”

Another user added, “There’s too much noise about these clashes. [W]hether they [are] true or false, this shouldn’t affect the revolution because its not based on the army.. [The] revolution didn’t start with them and doesn’t depend on them.”

The following day, as the siege of Khartoum by the continued, the RSF were filmed combing the protest site in a convoy which included at least three UAE-made NIMR Ajban 440A. These armored vehicles were fitted with roof mounted guns.

In the meantime, a widespread international condemnation ensued as demonstrations were held on front of Sudan’s embassies in many countries across Europe, including England, to condemn the massacre. In Paris, protesters also flocked to demonstrate outside the embassy of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt to condemn the support they are providing to the military junta in Sudan.

Under pressure, the junta offered to resume the negotiations even as the RSF militiamen continued to terrorize Khartoum. The opposition forces have rejected the offer, and reiterated their call for an open political strike by professional and workers across all sectors.

It also reiterated its call for a total civil disobedience, where the masses refuse to comply with all orders and decisions made by the “coup council”, which is what the SPA has now calls the Transitional Military Council (TMC), through which the army is holding power.

Various association of engineers, pharmacists and others, have announced that they will participate in the strike SPA has called for. Many associations of employers have also voiced their support.

Professionals of Petro Energy Oilfield Operations Group Limited are also undertaking strike and civil disobedience. 5% of the shares of the company are held by the state-owned enterprise, Sudapet, while the China National Petroleum Corporation International (CNPCI) owns the other 95%.

After raising the agenda with senior management and providing “a comprehensive explanation of the events to the foreign partner”, the professionals employed by this company have resolved to paralyze production in oil wells at all the six fields in West Kordofon.

Declaring their readiness to completely stop the pumping of oil, the professionals have reaffirmed their commitment to civil disobedience, and to any further actions the SPA may call for in the struggle to wrest from the military junta the governing authority it assumed after Omar al-Bashir was removed from power on April 11 under the pressure of mass-demonstrations.