Man shot dead in Sudan during rally

Sudanese protesters march during a demonstration to commemorate 40 days since the sit-in massacre in Khartoum North, Sudan July 13, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 July 2019

Man shot dead in Sudan during rally

  • Dagalo has dismissed claims that the RSF was responsible for the deadly June crackdown, saying it was an attempt to distort the image of his force

KHARTOUM: Members of a feared Sudanese paramilitary force shot dead a civilian on Sunday in a town southeast of the capital as angry residents protested against the paramilitaries, witnesses and doctors said.
The incident occurred in El-Souk in the state of Sinnar when residents of the town rallied demanding that members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leave the town, witnesses told AFP.
“Residents of the town had gathered outside the office of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) to complain about the RSF,” a witness said.
“RSF members deployed and initially started shooting in the air but later they opened fire at residents, killing a man and wounding several other people,” said the witness, who declined to be named for security reasons.
A committee of doctors linked to the country’s umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, confirmed the incident.
The resident “was killed by gunshot in his head fired by Rapid Support Forces militia,” it said in a statement, adding that several other people were wounded.
Witnesses said El-Souk residents had gone to the NISS office to complain after the RSF raided a youth club on Saturday during a rally held to mourn the deaths of demonstrators killed in a Khartoum sit-in on June 3.
“During that rally the RSF raided a youth club and beat the youths there,” one witness said.
On Saturday, protesters held rallies in several cities and towns across the country, including in Khartoum, to mourn those killed in a raid on a protest camp on June 3 in the capital.
Protesters and rights groups allege that the raid on the sit-in outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum was carried out by members of the RSF.
More than 100 demonstrators were killed in the raid on that day when armed men in military fatigues cracked down on protesters who had been camping out there for weeks, doctors close to the protesters have said.
RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is the deputy chief of Sudan’s ruling military council that seized power after the army’s ouster of longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir in April following nationwide protests against his rule.
Dagalo has dismissed claims that the RSF was responsible for the deadly June crackdown, saying it was an attempt to distort the image of his force.


US considering troop boost to counter Iran

Updated 34 min 18 sec ago

US considering troop boost to counter Iran

  • A source has said Defense Secretary Mark Esper was considering plans to move between 5,000 and 7,000 troops to the Middle East
  • Tensions have risen sharply with Iran since Trump last year pulled out of a denuclearization pact and imposed sweeping sanctions

WASHINGTON: The United States said Thursday it was considering deploying fresh forces to counter Iran, with an official saying some 5,000 to 7,000 troops could head to the region.
Testifying before Congress, John Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, said the United States was “observing Iran’s behavior with concern.”
“We’re continuing to look at that threat picture and have the ability to dynamically adjust our force posture,” Rood told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
A US official told AFP on condition of anonymity that Defense Secretary Mark Esper was considering plans to move between 5,000 and 7,000 troops to the Middle East.
The official did not confirm where the troops would be sent, or in what timeframe, but said that the deployment would be due to frustrations with Iranian-linked groups’ attacks on US assets.
Rood, under questioning, denied a report by The Wall Street Journal the United States was considering sending 14,000 more troops — equivalent to the number sent over the past six months.
Esper also denied the 14,000 figure in a phone call with Senator Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the committee, Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said.
US President Donald Trump later tweeted that: “The story today that we are sending 12,000 troops to Saudi Arabia is false or, to put it more accurately, Fake News!“
It was not immediately clear which report the president was referring to.
Tensions have risen sharply with Iran since Trump last year pulled out of a denuclearization pact and imposed sweeping sanctions, including trying to block all its oil exports.
In September, the United States said Iran was responsible for attacks on the major Abqaiq oil processing center in Saudi Arabia, a close US ally and Iran’s regional rival.
Riyadh then asked Washington for reinforcements, receiving two fighter squadrons, additional missile defense batteries, and bringing the number of US troops stationed in the Kingdom to about 3,000.
The United States has also been alarmed by an uptick in attacks on bases in Iraq, where major demonstrations triggered by economic discontent have also targeted Iran’s clerical regime and its overwhelming influence in its Shiite-majority neighbor.
“We’re lucky no one has been killed. There is a spike in rocket attacks,” another US official said.
“It’s clearly not Daesh. Everything is going in the right direction and it’s the right range,” the official said, contrasting Iranian capabilities with those of the extremist Daesh group.
Among the incidents, five rockets hit the Al-Asad Air Base on Tuesday, just four days after US Vice President Mike Pence visited US troops there.
Iran denied involvement in the September attack in Saudi Arabia, which was claimed by Tehran-backed Houthi militia.
The tensions come as Iran itself has faced major protests set off by a sharp hike in gas prices.