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Rights groups slam Sudan over deadly riots

Published: Updated:

Rights groups Friday accused Sudanese security forces of deliberately shooting people demonstrating against fuel subsidy cuts in the worst riots to hit the country since 1989.

A joint statement from the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and London-based Amnesty International said 50 people were killed after being shot in the head or chest on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Local sources and activists have put the figure much higher, in excess of 100,” the statement said.

It also expressed “deep concern” about reports of hundreds of protesters detained by the intelligence services and urged the authorities “to ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment.”

“Shooting to kill -- including by aiming at protesters’ chests and heads -- is a blatant violation of the right to life, and Sudan must immediately end this violent repression by its security forces,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty.

Reports from Khartoum on Thursday spoke of at least 29 people killed nationwide since rioting erupted on Monday in the largest protests since President Omar al-Bashir seized power in 1989.

Police confirmed the 29 fatalities without giving details, but hospital and other sources said most had been shot dead by security forces.

“At least 50 people have been killed and 100 injured since the protests began, according to sources interviewed by the organizations,” the rights groups’ statement said.

“A 14-year-old boy from North Khartoum was among those killed, and it appears that the majority of the victims were aged 19-26.”

Osman Hummaida, Executive Director of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, called for Sudan to investigate “the use of disproportionate force and allegations of the intentional killing of protesters and use of live ammunition by security forces.”