KHARTOUM: Sudan’s military ruler on Wednesday offered to resume a dialogue on a transition to democracy, one day after he scrapped all agreements with an opposition alliance.
The offer by the head of Sudan’s ruling military council, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, came as the number of people killed since security forces stormed a protest camp in Khartoum on Monday rose to 100, according to a medical group linked to the opposition.
In a message for the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr broadcast on state television, Burhan paid homage to the uprising that began in December and culminated with the military overthrow and arrest of President Omar Al-Bashir in April. He was still ready to hand over power to an elected government, he said.
“We in the military council, extend our hands to negotiations without shackles except the interests of the homeland,” Burhan said.
Burhan had previously announced he was skipping any negotiations with protest groups and said he would organize elections within nine months.
His decision came after security forces stormed a protest camp site outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum in an operation that resulted in the death of at least 35 people, according to the doctors’ group.
The association said more people had been killed since then throughout Khartoum and its twin city of Omdruman, and 40 bodies had been pulled from the Nile River.
Sudanese protest leaders dismissed the call for talks with the ruling generals, saying the military cannot be serious about negotiations while troops keep shooting and killing protesters.
A spokesman for the protesters said they would instead continue their pro-democracy campaign to pressure the military to hand over power to a civilian authority.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as Hemedti, said on Wednesday that the military council had launched an investigation into recent violence in the country.
"The council has initiated an independent investigation ... an urgent and transparent investigation with fast results," said the council's deputy chairman, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. "Any person who crossed boundaries has to be punished."
Meanwhile, the deputy head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North rebel group has been detained, a spokesman for the movement said on Wednesday.
Yasir Arman, had been living in exile and was sentenced to death in absentia over his actions in the group, but returned to Sudan recently. He was arrested by security forces, the spokesman said.