Four school children among five shot dead by security forces during rally against rising costs, Sudan opposition groups say.
At least five protesters, including four high school students, have been shot dead after security forces broke up a student protest in the Sudanese city of El-Obeid, opposition groups have said.
The killings on Monday came a day before protest leaders and ruling generals are set to hold new talks on Sudan‘s transition following the removal of former leader, Omar al-Bashir.
Gunfire rang out as teenagers rallied against fuel and bread shortages in the capital of North Kordofan state, residents said, at a time of heightened tensions between opposition campaigners and military rulers that took power following Bashir’s removal.
A key protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), said “live ammunition” had been used against a “rally of school students” in the central town of El-Obeid.
In a post on its Facebook page, it urged “all citizens and medics” to head to hospitals treating the wounded.
“We call on our people to take to the streets … to denounce the Al-Obeid massacre, to demand the perpetrators be brought to justice,” said the SPA, which had launched the initial protests.
Authorities announced a nighttime curfew in four Sudanese towns following the incident. There was no immediate statement from the ruling military council.
The acting governor of North Kordofan, Mohamed Khidr Mohamed Hamid, told Al-Arabiya TV there had been a “slight friction” between protesters and security forces. He said he could not confirm who opened fire and a committee would investigate.
Videos circulating on social media purported to show students protesting outside El-Obeid’s main hospital against the killings and injuries.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from neighbouring Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, said students took to the streets demanding justice and better living conditions shortly before the shooting took place.
“The opposition called for nationwide protests to condemn the violence,” Morgan said. “They say they blame the ruling military council for the death of the protesters.”
Morgan said the protesters and opposition have also demanded that the police protect them.
“They say the military council and the police should not be attacking protesters as they voice their anger and demand a civilian government,” she said.
According to her, a transition agreement between the military and the civilian opposition has not yet been signed.
Sudan’s state news agency SUNA said authorities in North Kordofan closed all schools across the state until further notice and described the events as “regrettable”.
El-Obeid residents said a funeral would be held on Tuesday for those killed.
In Khartoum, a witness said dozens of protesters took to the streets in several neighbourhoods after hearing about the El-Obeid violence, Reuters News Agency reported.
Sudan military and the bloody “massacres“
Early June, Sudanese security forces entered the site of a sit-in in central Khartoum early on Monday June, 03 amid gunfire, witnesses and Arab television stations said, in what activists described as an attempt to disperse protesters demanding civilian rule.
A medical association affiliated to protesters said dozens were killed and dozens injured in the raid.