Sudanese security forces killed 14 people and wounded dozens Wednesday in a crackdown on anti-coup protests, medics said, including 11 in northern Khartoum where hundreds of demonstrators were still marching.
A pro-democracy doctors’ union said dozens of others were wounded, bringing the overall tolls to 38 dead and hundreds injured since the start of the protests against the military’s October 25 power grab.
A pro-military minister in Sudan says time is running out for the country’s deposed prime minister to agree to take a post in a military-led government after top generals seized power last month.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is currently under house arrest in the capital of Khartoum. He and more than 100 other government officials were detained during the coup. Many have been kept in undisclosed locations.
“The country cannot wait forever, so if he doesn’t take the job, then someone else will definitely take it,” Gibreil Ibrahim, the finance minister of the deposed government, told The Associated Press late Tuesday.
Speaking from his office in Khartoum, Ibrahim said calls by some pro-democracy groups, the United States and its western allies to return the pre-coup transitional government are “unrealistic.” Negotiations have focused on convincing Hamdok to lead a technocratic Cabinet that runs day-to-day affairs, he said.
Ibrahim, 66, is a rebel leader who joined the government earlier this year after the transitional administration reached a peace deal with a rebel alliance, ending years of civil war. He was one of those leading protests against Hamdok and others in Khartoum before the top generals initiated their coup.
He spoke to the AP ahead of rallies Wednesday in Khartoum and other cities across the country against the military’s takeover. Authorities have shut bridges linking Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman and tightened security across the capital. Security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at anti-coup protesters in at least one location in Khartoum, according to activists.
The Sudan Doctors Committee said most of the killings took place in Khartoum’s district of Bahri. It said dozens of others were wounded, as security forces used what the committee called, “brutal repression” against protest rallies.
An advocacy group said that Sudan has been experiencing a near-total telecommunications blackout amid Wednesday’s protests. NetBlocks said on Twitter that internet access remains largely disrupted across the country since the coup, despite a court ruling to restore services.
The Sudanese military seized power Oct. 25, dissolving the transitional government and arresting dozens of officials and politicians. The takeover upended a fragile planned transition to democratic rule, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his government.
The coup has drawn international criticism and massive protests in the streets of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country for the past three weeks.
The US has retaliated for the coup by suspending $700 million in direct financial assistance. The World Bank also suspended disbursements for its operations in Sudan, whose economy has been battered by years of mismanagement and sanctions. It also was dealt a blow when the oil-rich south seceded in 2011 after decades of war, taking with it more than half of public revenues and 95 percent of oil exports.