Sudan’s army launches legal action against ‘insulting’ activists

Activists and rights groups accuse the army of blocking investigations into the killing of scores of protesters on June 3 last year when security forces broke up a sit-in outside the defense ministry. (File/AFP)
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Updated 18 July 2020

Sudan’s army launches legal action against ‘insulting’ activists

  • The army ruled Sudan for a few months after removing veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir in April 2019, before signing a fragile three-year power-sharing deal with civilians under pressure from protesters
  • the army said that legal action would be taken against activists, journalists and others both inside and outside Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s army has started legal action against activists and journalists who have “insulted” the military, it said in a statement on Saturday.
The army ruled Sudan for a few months after removing veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir in April 2019, before signing a fragile three-year power-sharing deal with civilians under pressure from protesters.
In a statement on Saturday, the army said that legal action would be taken against activists, journalists and others both inside and outside Sudan. No further information was given, but the army said it would release more details in due course.
“The armed forces took this step after systematic insults and accusations crossed the bounds of patience. They are part of a plan targeting the country’s army and security system,” the statement said.
Activists and rights groups accuse the army of blocking investigations into the killing of scores of protesters on June 3 last year when security forces broke up a sit-in outside the defense ministry. Witnesses say that a powerful paramilitary force played a leading role in the raid.
The army denies that it is obstructing the investigation, saying wrongdoers will be punished.
In May, the army appointed one of its officers as a commissioner to file legal complaints and follow them up under the supervision of the military prosecutor, the statement said.
It said the action was not an attempt to “restrict freedoms” and was in accordance with recently passed laws.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Khartoum and other cities at the end of June, demanding faster reform and greater civilian rule in the country’s transition toward democracy. The demonstrations were the largest since the transitional government took power late last year.
The transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok replaced slew of top ministers earlier this month and fired the police chief and his deputy in response to the protests.
Hamdok, a technocrat, is expected to replace some state governors who are former army officers with civilians.


At least 14 civilians killed by booby traps in Egypt’s Sinai

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At least 14 civilians killed by booby traps in Egypt’s Sinai

  • Daesh militants in July attacked several villages in the town of Bir Al-Abd, forcing people to flee their homes
  • The militants had laid booby traps in several houses that killed at least 14 people after they returned to their homes

EL-ARISH: More than a dozen civilians, including women and children, were killed in Egypt’s restive northern Sinai Peninsula over the past two weeks from explosive devices laid down in their homes by militants, security and medical officials said Sunday.
Daesh militants in July attacked several villages in the town of Bir Al-Abd, forcing people to flee their homes. The military then secured the villages in August and allowed residents to return to their homes a few weeks later, the officials said.
The militants, however, had laid booby traps in several houses that killed at least 14 people, including six from the same family late on Saturday, officials said. The causalities included women and children.
At least ten others have been wounded since Oct. 12 and were taken to the town’s hospital for treatment, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Bir Al-Abd was the site of a horrific extremist attack on a mosque in 2017 that killed over 300 worshippers, some of them fathers praying with their young sons. The tribes of North Sinai have been heavily targeted by militants who view their veneration of Muslim saints and shrines as heretical, forcing a mass exodus of residents from the impoverished area that has long been underdeveloped by the government.
Violence and instability there intensified after the military overthrew the country’s president in 2013 amid nationwide protests against the Muslim Brotherhood group’s divisive rule. Extremist militants have since carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and minority Christians.
The conflict has largely taken place out of public view, with journalists and outside observers barred from the area. The conflict has so far not expanded into the southern end of the peninsula where popular Red Sea tourist resorts are located.
In February 2018, the military launched a massive operation in Sinai that also encompassed parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along the country’s western border with Libya. Since then, the pace of Daesh attacks in Sinai’s north has diminished.