Sudan: What’s Really Happening
On December 19, 2018, a series of protests broke out in several Sudanese cities, originally due to the rise in the cost of living and deterioration of economic conditions at all levels of society. The protests then quickly turned from demands for urgent economic change, into demands for civilian rule. Military power was given after president Omar al-Bashir was ousted after a 30-year rule in April, 2019.
As protesting continued, military enforcement decided to become involved by beginning a pro-democracy sit-in right outside of the military headquarters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, where most protesting took place. A day after security forces tried to clear the main protest camp, the leaders of the protests rejected the military’s plan to hold elections within nine months and instead vowed to force the military out of power. During this brawl on June 3, 2019, several people were killed and many more wounded when troops of the cities went through the capital firing on protesters, burning tents and beating and raping civilians. A spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, the leading protest group, called the violence a “massacre”, but said that its members are going to “continue their resistance against the military,” as stated by The New York Times.
Doctors counted a total of about 118 deaths over several days, with 40 bodies dragged from the Nile river. Sudanese Doctors say that dozens of civilians were raped during the military’s attack. Hospitals in Khartoum, Sudan record more than 70 cases of rape in the aftermath. A hospital in the south of Khartoum had received two rape cases, a medical source said, including one who was attacked by four Rapid Support Forces Paramilitaries. Many victims have not sought medical treatment either because of fear or care has been limited. Human rights activists and experts have described the reports of sexual violence as ‘reliable’ according to The Guardian.
On June 11, 2019, protest leaders in Sudan, including the ones mentioned above, agreed to end the general strike and are willing to resume power-sharing talks with the ruling military council. Tibor Nagy, the US State Department’s top envoy for Africa, plans to meet both members of the military leadership and protest leaders in Khartoum, in particular the RSF who is in control of the capital, in hopes to end their violence and come up with a plan for peace.
The protesters want an immediate transition of rule to be passed to civilians.