TEHRAN (Press Shia) – At least five people were killed after Sudanese security forces moved against a protest sit-in camp in the capital Monday, besieging the site and setting fire to tents.
Heavy gunfire has been heard in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, as security forces forcefully moved in to clear the protest camp that has been the central point in the demonstrators’ months-long struggle for civilian rule, Al Jazeera reported.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, a medical group linked to protesters, said at least five people were killed and several wounded in the Monday morning raid, which was still in progress.
The committee also said security forces used live ammunition inside East Nile Hospital in Khartoum where some of the wounded were being treated.
In a post on Twitter, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said the country’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) had assigned a large number of troops to disperse the protest camp.
The sound of heavy gunfire was heard in footage broadcast from the scene, while plumes of smoke rose into the sky.
Witnesses spoke of soldiers being heavily armed and of using live ammunition against protesters who were peaceful and did nothing to provoke the troops.
“We are being attacked by the Rapid Support Forces and the police,” said Mamadou Abozeid, a protester in Khartoum.
Mohammed Elmunir, a protester in the Sudanese capital, said security forces blocked the exits of the sit-in site before opening fire on protesters.
“They were shooting at every one randomly and people were running for their lives. They blocked all roads and most tents at the sit-in have been set on fire,” Elmunir told
Sudanese human rights activist Azaz Elshami said it was not surprising the military has resorted to using deadly force to deal with protesters.
“What is happening is the mask is finally falling. The military is not different from the government before it. They are not what they said they are. They don’t want change and they want power for themselves. Now, everyone knows what they are up against. This is a new phase. It might take much longer, but I don’t think Sudanese people will back down,” Elshami said.
The sit-in has become the focal point of Sudan’s protest movement, which saw longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir overthrown in April and has since been calling for the generals who replaced him to hand over power to a civilian-led administration.
The operation came days after Sudan’s military rulers called the sit-in outside the defence ministry “a danger” to the country’s national security and warned that action would be taken against what they called “unruly elements”.