0847 GMT June 24, 2019
On April 11, the Sudanese military overthrew and then imprisoned 75-year-old president Omar al-Bashir after some four months of widespread protests over dire economic conditions and soaring prices of basic commodities. Bashir himself had come to power through a military coup in 1989.
Following Bashir’s ouster, the coup leaders established the so-called Transitional Military Council (TMC) with the task of running state affairs. But the coup leaders also moved to consolidate power and faced popular protests themselves.
Protest leaders later began negotiating with the generals in an attempt to work out a peaceful transition, and while the two sides made some progress in the talks, the negotiations abruptly broke down in May over remaining disagreements, Presstv Reported.
The protest movement then called a general strike, and tensions soared.
On Monday, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attacked a main protest camp in Khartoum, prompting clashes with the protesters, who had been camping out there for months to demand that the TMC hand over power to a civilian government.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is associated with protest groups, said on Wednesday the death toll from the crackdown had risen to 108, including three children from one family.
It said as many as 40 bodies had been retrieved from the Nile, while at least 509 people had also been wounded by members of the RSF.
“Reports that bodies have been dumped in the river demonstrate the utter depravity of these so-called security forces,” said Netsanet Belay, the Africa director at Amnesty, on Thursday.
Sudan’s feared paramilitary RSF is led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is the deputy leader of the TMC and the second most powerful man in Sudan right now. The general is close to Saudi Arabia and the (UAE).
Reports say that nearly all of the Sudanese mercenaries fighting in the ranks of a Saudi- and Emirati-led military coalition against impoverished Yemen are from the RSF.
Dagalo’s RSF has conducted a series of counter-insurgency campaigns in Darfur and other restive provinces during the past couple of years. The paramilitary force is accused by rights groups of using brutal tactics under Dagalo’s command.
“The death toll is now soaring as the RSF, the special military force which killed, raped and tortured thousands in Darfur, brings its murderous rampage to the capital," Belay said.
"Reports that bodies have been dumped in the river demonstrate the utter depravity of these so-called security forces,” he added.
“Sudan’s recent history has been defined by impunity for war crimes and other serious human rights violations. We are urging the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council to break this cycle of impunity and take immediate action to hold the perpetrators of this violence accountable.”
Sudanese Health Ministry authorities, however, denied doctors' claims that the death toll has topped 100, saying that no more than 46 people died in crackdown on protesters.
African Union suspends Sudan's membership
Additionally on Thursday, the African Union (AU) suspended Sudan’s membership in the union, strongly calling for a civilian-led transition authority to resolve the crisis in the African country.
“The AU Peace and Security Council has with immediate effect suspended the participation of the Republic of Sudan in all AU activities until the effective establishment of a Civilian-led Transitional Authority, as the only way to allow the Sudan to exit from the current crisis,” the AU said on Twitter.