Sudan’s military chief ready to resume talks as death toll rises to 100

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Sudan has been wracked by violence since the overthrow of President Omar Al-Bashir in April. (AFP)
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Sudanese protesters gather by a barricade on a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 3, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 05 June 2019

Sudan’s military chief ready to resume talks as death toll rises to 100

  • ‘We in the military council, extend our hands to negotiations without shackles except the interests of the homeland’

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.


Mosques in Iran to resume daily prayers, president says

Updated 18 min 9 sec ago

Mosques in Iran to resume daily prayers, president says

  • Rouhani also said on state television that the hours of shopping malls will be extended
  • He did not say when they are due to reopen

DUBAI: Government employees went back to work in Iran on Saturday and President Hassan Rouhani said mosques are to resume daily prayers throughout the country, even though some areas are seeing high levels of coronavirus infections.
Rouhani also said on state television that the hours of shopping malls, which had been allowed to open only until 6 p.m., will be extended, a further step in the government’s plans to ease coronavirus restrictions.
“Doors to mosques across the country will open to public for daily prayers,” Rouhani said, adding that social distancing and other health protocols should be observed. He did not say when they are due to reopen.
Authorities are taking tougher measures to ensure that health regulations are observed, including barring commuters not wearing masks from buses and metro trains, Iranian media reported.
Alireza Zali, head of the government-led Coronavirus Taskforce of Tehran, told state TV the situation in the capital was “still not favorable,” adding that the easing of restrictions should be accompanied by “more serious observance” of regulations.
As of Friday, Iran had recorded 146,668 infections, with 7,677 deaths.
Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said Friday there had been no deaths in the previous 24 hours in 15 of the country’s provinces and one in each of five provinces.
The provinces of Khuzestan in the southwest, and Baluchistan in the southeast of the country, have been declared “red” areas where there are still high levels of infection.
The health ministry has divided the country into white, yellow and red areas based on the number of infections and deaths.