Sudan's New Prime Minister Launches Probe Into Protesters' Deaths

In June, security forces killed dozens of pro-democracy protesters when they violently dispersed a sit-in outside the military's headquarters in Khartoum

Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, August 21, 2019.
Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, August 21, 2019. Credit: AP

Sudan's newly-appointed prime minister is launching an independent investigation into June's deadly crackdown on protesters that killed dozens.

Abdalla Hamdok said late Saturday the seven-member committee includes a top judge, an independent figure and two attorneys.

The justice, defense and interior ministries will be represented on the committee which should conclude its probe within six months.

In June, Sudan's security forces violently swept away a protest camp located in front of the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum. This marked an alarming turn in the standoff between the military and the protesters, who had been holding a sit-in to pressure the military council to hand power over to civilians. Sudan's army ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April amid nationwide protests against his nearly 30-year rule.

According to the protesters, at least 128 people have been killed and hundreds wounded during the sit-in dispersal and the subsequent crackdown. However, military-backed health authorities say only 61 have died, including three security forces. In the days following the dispersal, protest organizers said more than 40 bodies of people slain by security forces were pulled from the Nile River.

Protest leaders demanded the establishment of an independent inquiry as part of a subsequent power-sharing agreement with the military.

An investigation by Sudanese prosecutors in July said the ruling generals did not order the deadly break-up, but blamed the widely condemned dispersal on paramilitary forces who exceeded their orders.

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