Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir on Sunday implied that police can use force against anti-government demonstrators if they threaten the general security of the country, but ordered that excessive force against them not to be used. Meanwhile, the UN called for a probe into deaths during the violent protests.
At least 19 people have been killed since December 19 during protests sparked by Khartoum’s decision to hike the price of bread, according to the government.
Rights group Amnesty International says 37 people have died.
“We want to maintain security and we want the police to do that by using less force,” Bashir, dressed in a blue police uniform, said.
Protesters have rallied after the government raised the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three (from about two to six US cents).
Sudan is facing an acute foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation despite Washington lifting an economic embargo in October 2017.
Inflation is running at 70 percent and the Sudanese pound has plunged in value, while shortages of bread and fuel have regularly hit several cities.
“We admit that we have economic problems... but they can’t be solved by destructions, lootings, and thefts,” Bashir said, referring to buildings and ruling offices torched by protesters in several cities during the demonstrations.
“We don’t want our country to go the way other countries in the region have gone,” he said.
“We will not allow our people to be refugees. If this happens where can we go in this region?”