KHARTOUM: Security forces clashed with protesters on Thursday furious over a military coup that has derailed Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy and sparked an international outcry.
At least one protester was killed, according to medics, on the fourth consecutive day of street violence in Khartoum, as the UN Security Council and US President Joe Biden called for a restoration of the civilian-led government toppled by the army on Monday.
The council in a unanimously passed statement expressed “serious concern” about the army power grab in the poverty-stricken Northeast African nation and urged all sides “to engage in dialogue without pre-conditions.”
Military leader Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Monday dissolved the country’s fragile government.
While the civilian leader, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, has been under effective house arrest, the capital has been rocked by days of unrest and is bracing for major demonstrations on Saturday.
Roads have been blocked by barricades of rocks, debris and burning car tires that have sent black smoke billowing into the sky, while most shops have been shuttered in a campaign of civil disobedience.
The latest street clashes on Thursday rocked the restive eastern Khartoum district of Burri and the Khartoum-North suburb.
At least one protester was killed in the clashes in Khartoum-north, a doctor’s committee linked to the protest movement said. That takes to eight the number of protesters killed since Monday’s coup, up from a toll of seven given by health officials earlier in the day.
Tear gas and rubber-coated bullets were fired at the demonstrators on Thursday and witnesses reported several injuries.
The World Bank and the US have frozen aid and denounced the army’s power grab, while the African Union has suspended Sudan’s membership over what it termed the “unconstitutional” takeover.
Biden on Thursday said that the civilian-led government “must be restored,” echoing a statement recognizing the continued legitimacy of Hamdok’s Cabinet issued by his administration, London, the EU and others the previous day.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s strongman fired at least six ambassadors, including the envoys to the US, the EU and France, after they condemned the military’s takeover of the country, a military official said.
The diplomats pledged their support for the deposed government of Hamdok.
Also fired were the Sudanese ambassadors to Qatar, China and the UN mission in Geneva, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media.
The state-run Sudan TV also reported the dismissals.
Ali bin Yahia, Sudan’s envoy in Geneva, was defiant after his dismissal. “I will spare no efforts to reverse the situation, explain facts and resist the blackout imposed by coup officials on what is happened my beloved country,” he said in video comments posted online.