Sudanese call for anti-coup protests as death toll rises to 40

Sudanese call for anti-coup protests as death toll rises to 40
Sudanese anti-coup protesters gather amid ongoing protests against last month's widely condemned military takeover, in the "Street 40," Umdurman on November 17, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 20 November 2021

Sudanese call for anti-coup protests as death toll rises to 40

Sudanese call for anti-coup protests as death toll rises to 40
  • Both the United States and African Union have condemned the deadly crackdown on protesters
  • On Saturday, hundreds of protesters rallied against the military in North Khartoum

KHARTOUM: Sudanese anti-coup activists called for mass protests on Sunday, as hundreds held demonstrations denouncing the deadly crackdown which left 40 people killed since last month’s military takeover.
Both the United States and African Union have condemned the deadly crackdown on protesters and called on Sudan’s leaders to refrain from the “excessive use of force.”
Sudan’s top general Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on October 25 declared a state of emergency, ousted the government and detained the civilian leadership.
The military takeover upended a two-year transition to civilian rule, drew wide international condemnation and punitive measures, as well as provoking people to take to the streets.
Protests on Wednesday provoked the deadliest day so far, with the death toll standing at 16 after a teenager who had been shot died, medics said.
The independent Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said the 16-year-old had been shot “by live rounds to the head and the leg.”
Most of those killed on Wednesday were in North Khartoum, which lies across the Nile river from the capital, medics said.
On Saturday, hundreds of protesters rallied against the military in North Khartoum, building street barricades and setting tires on fire, an AFP correspondent said.
They chanted “no, no to military rule” and called for “civilian rule.”
During the unrest, a police station was set on fire, the correspondent said, adding that there were no police agents in the vicinity. It was not immediately clear who torched it.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) have urged protesters to keep up their campaign.
On Saturday, pro-democracy activists made online calls for mass anti-coup protests with a “million-strong march on November 21.”
The SPA is an umbrella of unions which were instrumental in the months-long demonstrations that led to the ousting of president Omar Al-Bashir in April 2019.
Dozens of protesters also rallied Saturday to mourn the latest deaths in North Khartoum, demanding “retribution” and a transition to civilian rule.
Police officials deny using any live ammunition and insist they have used “minimum force” to disperse the protests. They have recorded only one death, among demonstrators in North Khartoum.
On Friday, small groups of protesters rallied in several neighborhoods after prayers against the military coup.
In North Khartoum, they built barricades across roads as police forces sporadically fired tear gas until late at night to disperse them, witnesses said.
An AFP correspondent said police forces also frisked passers-by and carried out identification checks.
The SPA said security forces had also “stormed homes and mosques” there on Friday.
The US and African Union denounced the deadly crackdown.
“We call for those responsible for human rights abuses and violations, including the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, to be held accountable,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“In advance of upcoming protests, we call on Sudanese authorities to use restraint and allow peaceful demonstrations,” he added.
The African Union, which suspended Sudan after the coup, also condemned “in the strongest terms” Wednesday’s violence.
AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat called on Sudan’s authorities “to restore constitutional order and the democratic transition” in line with a 2019 power-sharing deal between the military and the now-deposed civilian figures.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for the release of reporters detained while covering anti-coup protests including Ali Farsab who it said was beaten, shot, and detained by security forces on Wednesday.
“Sudanese security forces’ shooting and beating of journalist Ali Farsab make a mockery of the coup government’s alleged commitment to a democratic transitional phase in the country,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s MENA program coordinator.
Sudan has a long history of military coups, enjoying only rare interludes of democratic rule since independence in 1956.
Burhan, the top general, insists the military’s move “was not a coup” but a step “to rectify the transition” as factional infighting and splits deepened between civilians and the military under the now-deposed government.
He has since announced a new ruling council in which he kept his position as head, along with a powerful paramilitary commander, three senior military figures, three ex-rebel leaders and one civilian.
But the other four civilian members were replaced with lesser known figures.


‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official

‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official
Updated 12 sec ago

‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official

‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official
  • ‘No one should have to live in these conditions,’ Mark Cutts tells briefing attended by Arab News
  • Nearly 3m people internally displaced in northern Syria, most of them women and children

LONDON: Brutal winter conditions in northern Syria have ushered in mass-scale suffering for 2.8 million internally displaced persons, a top UN humanitarian official warned on Monday.

“We’re extremely concerned about the situation there,” Mark Cutts, the UN’s deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, said in a briefing attended by Arab News.

The IDPs, he added, are “some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” the majority of them living in temporary camps and tents.

“During this extremely cold weather, we’ve seen some real horror scenes in the last few days — about 1,000 tents have either collapsed completely or been very badly damaged as a result of heavy snow,” said Cutts, adding that temperatures have dropped to as low as -7 degrees centigrade.

About 100,000 people have been affected by the heavy snow, while 150,000 more have been affected by freezing conditions and heavy rain.

“These are people who’ve been through a lot in the past few years. They’ve fled from one place to another. The bombs have followed them. Many of the hospitals and schools in northwest Syria have been destroyed in the 10 years of war,” said Cutts, adding that what he and his team are seeing in camps now is a “real disaster zone.”

He said: “Our humanitarian workers have been pulling people out from under their collapsed tents … They’ve been clearing snow from tents with their bare hands.”

Children, the elderly and the disabled are suffering the most from the conditions, added Cutts, who appealed to the international community to “do more, to recognize the scale of the crisis, to help us get these people out of tents and into safer, more dignified temporary shelter.”

In a final plea, he said: “It’s absolutely unacceptable that you’ve got 1.7 million people living in camps in these appalling conditions — most of them are women and children and elderly people.

“These civilians are stranded in a warzone, and now, on top of that, they’re dealing with temperatures below zero. No one should have to live in these conditions.”


Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal

Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal
Updated 4 min 39 sec ago

Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal

Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal

TEHRAN: Tehran on Monday said it is “possible” to reach an agreement on the two issues of Iran-US prisoners’ release and the Vienna talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.

“They are two different paths, but if the other party (the US) has the determination, there is the possibility that we reach a reliable and lasting agreement in both of them in the shortest time,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said during his weekly press conference.

Khatibzadeh’s comments came in reaction to remarks made by the US envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, who on Sunday said it is unlikely that Washington would strike an agreement unless Tehran releases four US citizens.

BACKGROUND

The four US citizens held in Iran are Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, 50, and his father Baquer, 85, as well as environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 66, and businessman Emad Sharqi, 57.

“Iran has not accepted any precondition from day one of the negotiations,” Khatibzadeh said.

He added that “the negotiations are complicated enough, and should not get more complex with complicated remarks.”


Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal

Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal
Updated 7 min 19 sec ago

Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal

Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal
  • A major general and colonel in Kuwait's army would face prosecutors over their alleged misuse of public funds
  • Kuwait ordered 28 Eurofighter Typhoon jets in 2016 under a contract valued at some $8.7 billion

LONDON: Kuwait has referred two senior army officers to the public prosecutor over suspected corruption related to a deal to buy Eurofighter Typhoon jets, the state anti-corruption body on Monday.
Kuwait received last month its first two Eurofighter Typhoons as part of an order for a total of 28 aircraft that will be delivered to the Kuwait Air Force.
“Investigations show that the defendants committed several violations that caused serious damage to public money by paying inflation bills to the manufacturer that exceeded the total value agreed upon in the main contract ... without prior permission from the relevant authorities,” the Kuwait Anti Corruption Authority (Nazaha) said in a statement.
The authority said it had received a report from the minister of defense on the ministry’s contract to purchase the aircraft, which was marred by special remarks in the inflation clause.
“The investigations revealed that the defendant committed several violations that caused serious damage to public money by issuing inflation-related bills to the manufacturer that exceeded the total value agreed upon in the main contract,” the statement said.
It added that the exchange process took place without prior permission from the concerned authorities in the defense and finance ministries, and without a documentary credit for that exchange, which affected the schedule of payments allocated to the said contract.
Nazaha said that a major general and colonel in Kuwait’s army would face prosecutors over their alleged misuse of public funds.
The authorities thanked an unnamed whistleblower for helping the government obtain information about the misuse of funds and said efforts to collect and examine evidence continued.
(With Reuters and AP)


Jordan reports its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases to date as fourth wave rages

According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots. (Reuters/File Photo)
According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 24 January 2022

Jordan reports its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases to date as fourth wave rages

According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • An additional 11,478 cases have been confirmed, bringing the total in the country since the pandemic began to 1,152,526
  • Nearly 23 percent of tests returned a positive result, 18 percent above the 5 percent rate considered ‘safe’ by authorities

AMMAN: Jordan on Monday reported the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases in the country since the pandemic began, as the kingdom battles to contain a surging fourth wave of coronavirus infections.

Authorities said an additional 11,478 cases have been confirmed, bringing the total to 1,152,526, and another 15 people have died of conditions related to the disease. The death toll now stands at 13,088.

Nearly 23 percent of PCR tests returned a positive result, 18 percent above the 5 percent rate considered “safe” by the government.

A further 158 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital, while 107 have recovered and been discharged. A total of 714 people are currently receiving hospital treatment for the disease.

The government said occupancy rates of isolation beds by COVID-19 patients in the country’s northern, central and southern regions stand at 10 percent, 19 percent and 8 percent respectively.

According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots.


Algerian president in Egypt on official visit

Algerian president in Egypt on official visit
Updated 24 January 2022

Algerian president in Egypt on official visit

Algerian president in Egypt on official visit
  • Abdelmadjid Tebboune is on a two-day state visit
  • Egypt is the third Arab country that Tebboune has visited since he took office in December 2019

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received on Monday evening his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune at Cairo International Airport.

Tebboune is on a two-day state visit, and is expected to discuss with El-Sisi Arab and African security issues, including the crisis in neighboring Libya.

The two presidents previously met in January 2020 on the sidelines of the Berlin conference on the Libyan crisis.

Egypt is the third Arab country that Tebboune has visited since he took office in December 2019, after Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

El-Sisi received a written message from Tebboune last week after receiving Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in Cairo.

El-Sisi and Lamamra discussed bilateral relations and Arab issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Libyan crisis.