Protesters took to the streets of Khartoum yesterday, angrily demanding justice for scores of pro-democracy demonstrators killed a year ago in a bloody crackdown.
The popular mass movement had already brought down long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir but was still on the streets demanding further reforms when it was attacked by men in military fatigues on June 3, 2019.
“We won’t forget and we won’t forgive,” read one Arabic-language protest sign held up by a mask-clad woman as scores of other protesters rallied and the smoke of burning car tyres blackened the sky.
At least 128 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the attack outside Khartoum’s army headquarters, according to doctors linked to the protest movement. Official figures say at least 87 died.
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The attackers in military fatigues perpetrated “murder, torture, rape, sexual violence, enforced disappearance of persons and potentially other inhumane acts,” says a March report by the US-based group Physicians for Human Rights.
The new PM under Sudan’s post-Bashir civilian-military transition authority, Abdalla Hamdok, pledged yesterday that justice would be done.
“I assure you all that achieving justice and retribution for the martyrs of the sit-in ... is an inevitable and irreversible step,” Hamdok said in a televised statement.
Protesters yesterday hung up effigies of soldiers of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary group they blame for the bloodbath -- a charge firmly denied by Sudan’s military leaders.
One protester held up a large photo of Abdulsalam Kisha, a 25-year-old protester who was killed in the attack last year in the capital’s eastern Riyadh district.
The dead man’s father, Kisha Abdulsalam, told AFP days ago that he still held out hope the killers would be brought to justice by post-revolution authorities. “We demand an international probe to ensure justice for those killed,” said Kisha, a member of a campaign group for the families of victims.
A memorial portrait of his slain son has been painted on the Khartoum house of the bereaved father, who has two other sons and a daughter.
He recalled the day he heard the shocking news.
“I rushed to the protest site after receiving multiple random phone calls saying my son had died,” he said, only to find out later the young man was killed by multiple gunshots.
Sudan’s transitional authorities, which came to power in August last year, with Bashir behind bars, have formed a committee to probe the violence, but it has yet to announce its findings.
In July last year, an initial probe by Sudan’s military officials and prosecutors showed that some members of the RSF and other security forces were involved in the killings.
Military officials insist the operation had been planned to purge an area near the protest camp where people were allegedly selling drugs. Hamdok in October tasked veteran lawyer Nabil Adib with leading the investigations and to present findings within three months.