Sudan Opposition Halts Talks After 'Massacre' of School Children

Cheryl Sanders
July 31, 2019

The killing of five protesters, among them four school students*, in El Obeid on Monday morning sparked major demonstrations in various Sudanese cities and towns later that day.

The TMC had not issued any official statement on the killings as at Monday when the protests took place.

"What happened in El Obied city is a crime that necessitates immediate and deterrent punishment", said Al-Burhan during interview with local media representatives that would be published later Tuesday.

The two sides signed a power-sharing agreement on July 17, and were to sit down on Tuesday to discuss the powers of the proposed joint civilian-military ruling council and immunity for generals over previous deadly violence against protesters.

The chairman of Sudan's ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, condemned the killings.

The children died when security forces opened fire on a protest in El-Obeid in central Sudan.

Gunfire rang out as teenagers rallied against fuel and bread shortages in the capital of North Kordofan state, residents were quoted as saying, at a time of heightened tensions between opposition campaigners and the military following Bashir's removal.

"No child should be buried in their school uniform", the agency said, adding the students killed were aged between 15 and 17 years.

"Killing a student is killing a nation", chanted crowds of schoolchildren, dressed in their uniforms and waving Sudanese flags, in the capital's eastern district of Burri.

Protest leaders called off Tuesday's meeting after the shootings.

The UN children's agency UNICEF called on the authorities "to investigate" the killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

July 5 - The military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups agree provisionally to share power for three years, after mediation by Ethiopia and pressure from the African Union and world powers.

Late on Tuesday, the authorities ordered the school closures.

The RSF are commanded by Mohammed Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who is seen as the most powerful of the military rulers in charge of Sudan since the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

"We can not sit at the negotiating table with those allowing the killing of revolutionaries", Siddig Youssef, a prominent protest leader, said in a statement.

The power-sharing deal already agreed provides for the establishment of a governing body of six civilians and five generals.

Last month, security forces violently dispersed the protesters' main sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, killing dozens of people and plunging the fragile transition into crisis.

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