At least 10 people have been killed in shootings in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and scores more injured, according to local medical officials.
Photojournalist Khaled Omar said on Twitter Friday that he had just visited Khartoum’s biggest mosque, where many of the dead and injured had been taken. “This is a mass shooting and the streets are full of corpses,” Omar tweeted. “According to the imam, about 100 people have been shot dead at the mosque today.”
Photographs by Hajar Aker showed the scene outside the mosque. A group of medics and residents carry the wounded amid the ruins of a mosque, which had been set on fire.
Sudan has endured a military crackdown on a months-long pro-democracy movement after the authorities deployed the military against demonstrators. The government blames the opposition for seeking a coup d’état in the country, but local officials and medical officials suspect the attacks were carried out by security forces. They say there was a “preplanned attack,” but did not make direct accusations against the authorities.
“Police and troops got under the cover of darkness and entered the religious building,” a local lawyer, Mohamed Imran, told Reuters. “A large number of security personnel shot dead dozens of people.”
A spokesman for Sudan’s Foreign Ministry told Reuters that people had gathered in the mosque to celebrate Eid al-Adha, an Islamic festival. “We condemn this terrible act of violence,” the spokesman said.
There has been a spreading pro-democracy uprising in Sudan over the past few months, but the military and security forces have met this with a crackdown that has resulted in hundreds of arrests, public executions and killings.
The unrest began in late April after President Omar al-Bashir issued decrees abolishing Sudan’s term limits that would have prevented him from standing for reelection in 2020. Al-Bashir won that election in October, but widespread opposition organized protests across the country. A police crackdown and more than a week of clashes with police left at least 42 people dead.
Officials have accused Sudan’s National Consensus Forces of leading the movement, but the movement denies this. It is demanding an independent judicial commission to investigate widespread torture and government persecution of opposition figures, including torture of protesters after the election.
Last week, the government declared a state of emergency and placed the country’s capital on lockdown.