6 dead as protests flare up across Sudan after Al Jazeera employees arrested

[van id=”world/2018/12/15/sudan-arrests-al-jazeera-bbc-editor-moore-nr.cnn”] Six people have been killed during protests in Sudan, a spokesman for the country’s president told AFP. Local media reported Saturday that 10 people had been killed, but did not cite a…

6 dead as protests flare up across Sudan after Al Jazeera employees arrested

[van id=”world/2018/12/15/sudan-arrests-al-jazeera-bbc-editor-moore-nr.cnn”]

Six people have been killed during protests in Sudan, a spokesman for the country’s president told AFP.

Local media reported Saturday that 10 people had been killed, but did not cite a reason for the discrepancy.

The deaths occurred Friday as anti-government demonstrations erupted after four Sudanese employees of Qatar-based satellite television network Al Jazeera were arrested.

Communications minister Ahmed el-Mahdi said there were “several casualties” of civilians and security forces in protests in Khartoum and Port Sudan, and that security forces had dispersed several demonstrators.

“A state of emergency was imposed in Port Sudan,” el-Mahdi said in a statement on state radio.

The statement also claimed seven members of the security forces had been wounded and 15 people detained.

Rights group Amnesty International reported six dead, including two security officers, in Port Sudan and Khartoum.

In a statement, the human rights group expressed “deep concern” over the killings in Port Sudan, where it said “protests quickly spiraled out of control” and killed several civilians.

It said it believed the deaths in Port Sudan were “part of a deliberate attempt by authorities to end the peaceful protests that have been taking place there for several days.”

In Khartoum, it said, an “overt attempt to end peaceful protests” failed to achieve its aim, leading to “a violent clash with security forces.”

“The impact of this attack was tragic,” the group said, adding it was “now raising grave concerns about the reliability of the investigation into the Port Sudan deaths.”

A statement by a group of 10 human rights groups accused the Sudanese government of blocking the group’s ability to communicate with protesters by blocking phones and internet access.

It is a “disgrace” that government officials have been blocking peaceful demonstrations against the government, it said.

The group said the media have been blocked, social media accounts are being shut down and peaceful protesters are being targeted, including by snipers and security forces in Khartoum.

“This is unacceptable. What is happening in Sudan is unacceptable. These are deadly crimes by members of the regime,” Patrick Noah, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“When President Al Bashir used all means of repression to crush the protests that began late last month, the international community should have been on his side. Instead, international organizations have stayed silent while his regime continues to slaughter people. The authorities must stop and investigate these events.”

State-run Sudanese Media Agency (SUNA) confirmed the deaths of protesters on Saturday, and said the demonstrators have been protesting peacefully for several days and pose a threat to the government.

The chaos in Sudan, which borders Egypt, Libya and South Sudan, is the worst the country has seen since the 1980s and 1990s, with images coming out of the country appearing to show damage to the police and government offices.

The violence erupted after Sudanese employees of the Qatar-based satellite television network Al Jazeera were arrested. Four of them were later released after the channel intervened, according to the Al Jazeera bureau chief, Mohamed al-Moqdashi.

On Saturday, Al Jazeera reported an unknown number of its staff had been arrested, with Moqdashi saying the operation appeared to be related to the arrest of the members of the Sudanese resistance movement.

Thousands of Sudanese turned out for protests last week, with images emerging of people throwing Molotov cocktails and setting fire to tires and light engines.

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