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Bashir defence asks court for release on bail — Sudan unrest

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In the first hearing, an investigator said Sudan's deposed president Omar al Bashir had admitted to receiving at least $90 million in cash from Saudi royals in recent years.

Supporters of Sudan's deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir gather in protest outside the court house in Khartoum on August 24, 2019. ( AFP )

August 24, Saturday

Bashir defence asks court for release on bail

Sudan's deposed longtime president Omar al Bashir appeared in court Saturday for the second hearing of his corruption trial, during which his defence asked for his release on bail.

Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown, sat in the same metal cage he appeared in Monday when his trial on graft charges opened.

In the first hearing, an investigator said Bashir had admitted to receiving at least $90 million in cash from Saudi royals in recent years.

The judge in Khartoum on Saturday heard three witnesses, two of them investigators who searched Bashir's residence after his ouster and the other a banker.

"We ask the court to release the accused on bail," Bashir's lawyer Hashem Abu Bakr said, to which the judge answered he would examine a written request.

After the hearing, as a massive security convoy escorted the 75-year-old Bashir back to prison, two opposing groups of demonstrators staged protests.

One group of a few dozen protesters chanted slogans for Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the country's deadly conflicts.

"Bashir is a killer" and "He has to face justice", they chanted.

August 21, Wednesday 

Sudan swears in civilian-majority ruling council

Sudan took further steps in its transition towards civilian rule Wednesday with the swearing-in of a new sovereign council, to be followed by the appointment of a prime minister.

The body replaces the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took charge after months of deadly street protests brought down longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.

As a result of Wednesday's move, it was the first time that Sudan was not under full military rule since Bashir's coup d'etat in 1989.

Burhan sworn in as head of sovereign council

General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, head of Sudan's now-defunct military council, was sworn in as head of the newly-formed Sovereign Council in front of the head of the country's judiciary.

Burhan was dressed in military uniform at the swearing-in ceremony held at the presidential palace in Khartoum. 

Hamdok, an economist who has served in international institutions, was nominated by Sudan's main opposition alliance which negotiated for months with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to reach the agreement that led to the Sovereign Council's establishment.

The council replaces the TMC that Burhan headed, which had ruled Sudan since the overthrow of long-time president Omar al Bashir in April.

It is now the highest authority in the country but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers. 

August 20, Tuesday

Ruling council constituted

Sudan completed the formation of an 11-member sovereign council that will run the country for a three-year transitional period until elections, a spokesman for the ruling military council told a news conference. 

The sovereign council will be led by Burhan, who headed the TMC which ruled Sudan since April when the military deposed veteran leader Bashir. 

Members of the sovereign council and the prime minister will be sworn in on Wednesday.

August 19, Monday

Bashir got millions of dollars from Saudis – investigator

Sudan's ousted president Bashir acknowledged receiving millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, a police detective told a court on Monday at the start of a corruption trial that many Sudanese thought they would never see.

Bashir arrived amid heavy security at the courthouse in the capital where he is facing corruption charges.

Police Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Mohamed, a detective in the team investigating Bashir, testified that Bashir told them he had received $25 million from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known as MbS.

The detective cited Bashir as saying MbS gave him the money for spending outside the Sudanese state budget and that it was spent on donations, without going into further details on who received it.

Sums of $351,000, more than 6 million Euros and 5 million Sudanese pounds were found at Bashir's home when he was arrested, a judicial source said at the time.

Mohamed said Bashir also told investigators he received $65 million dollars, in two separate payments, from former Saudi King Abdullah.

Bashir's trial will be a test of how serious authorities are about trying to erase his legacy of autocratic rule, marked by widespread violence, economic collapse and the secession of South Sudan.

Bashir was also charged in May with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and prosecutors also want him questioned over suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.

The trial is taking place at the Judicial and Legal Science Institute in a huge military convoy.

Transitional rule delayed

The formation of Sudan's sovereign council, which will run the country during a three-year transitional period, has been delayed for two days, Sudan's ruling military council said on Monday.

"The council's formation has been delayed at the request of the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) alliance," Shams al-Din Kabbashi, the head of Transitional Military Council (TMC)'s political committee, said in statements.

He said the delay would give FFC more time to agree on its five nominees for the council's membership. 

August 18, Sunday

Opposition appoints five members of sovereign council

Sudan's opposition coalition on Sunday appointed five people as civilian members of the country's sovereign council to be sworn in on Monday, a source within the coalition told Reuters.

A power-sharing agreement signed on Saturday paves the way for a transitional government and eventual elections. It provides for a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers.

According to the agreement, the opposition coalition is allowed to choose five members of the council and the military another five, with the two sides jointly choosing a civilian as an eleventh member.

August 17, Saturday

Sudanese protesters sign transition deal with army

Sudan's army and the country's pro-democracy movement have signed a final power-sharing deal at a ceremony in the capital, Khartoum.

Saturday's agreement paves the way for a transition to civilian rule following the military overthrow of President Omar al Bashir in April after months of protests.

The deal establishes a joint military and civilian council to rule for a little over three years until elections can be held. The agreement would also establish a Cabinet appointed by the activists and a legislative body.

August 7, Wednesday

US under secretary for political affairs visits Sudan
The US Undersecretary for Political Affairs arrived in Khartoum Wednesday for talks with leaders of the transitional military council and the Forces of Freedom and Change, on the democratic transition in Sudan.

David Hale pledged the United States' commitment to peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

Hale encouraged both parties on full implementation of the agreements made on July 17, and August 4, to reach a civilian-led transitional government.

Sudan is in the US' list of state sponsors of terrorism and Hale said it would remain in the list until " longstanding issues" are solved.

"There's a number things we're looking forward to engaging with a civilian-led government," he said.

August 4, Sunday

Sudan's factions initial a constitutional declaration

Sudan's military council and opposition coalition representatives initialled a constitutional declaration paving the way for a transitional government on Sunday.

The two sides are due to put their final signatures on the constitutional declaration on August 17, sources with knowledge of the negotiations told Reuters earlier on Sunday

According to the sources, the formation of a sovereign council, which will run the country during a three-year transitional period leading up to elections, will be announced on August 18.

A new prime minister will be named on August 20 and a cabinet on August 28.

August 3, Saturday

Sudan factions adopt constitutional declaration – AU

Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders reached a "full agreement" on the constitutional declaration, the African Union said, paving the way for transitioning to civilian rule.

The agreement came after prolonged negotiations between Sudan's ruling military council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change which has been leading the protest movement across Sudan for months.

"I am announcing to the Sudanese, African and international public opinion that the two delegations have fully agreed on the constitutional declaration," AU mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt told reporters .

Lebatt said meetings will be held to discuss a formal signing ceremony.

The main points of contention concerned the powers of the proposed joint civilian-military ruling body, the deployment of security forces and immunity for generals over protest-related violence.

Friday, August 2

Sudan military dismisses soldiers 

Sudan's military council spokesman said on Friday that nine soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were dismissed and detained in connection with recent violence in the cities of Omdurman and Al Obeid.

Spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi added that the governor of North Kordofan state and its security council will be held accountable for the killings that took place in the state's capital city of Al Obeid on Monday.

Thursday, August 1

Four more protesters shot dead

Four protesters were shot dead on Thursday in Omdurman, the twin city of Sudan's capital Khartoum, a doctors committee linked to protesters said, as thousands demonstrated across the country.

"Four protesters have been killed by live ammunition and several wounded at a rally in Omdurman," the doctor's committee said in a statement.

Activists say mass protests taking place in capital

Sudanese pro-democracy activists have posted videos on social media showing thousands of people taking to the streets in the capital, Khartoum on Thursday.

The Sudanese Professionals Association says the rallies are demanding justice for the killing of at least six people, including four students, earlier this week during student protests in a central province.

"Where is the investigation committee?" chanted protesters as they marched in the Burri and Bahri districts, sites of regular protests since they first erupted in December against the regime of now-ousted president Omar al Bashir.

Many carried Sudanese flags and photographs of some of those people killed in the months-long protest campaign.

Protesters also rallied in Al Obeid, the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan, in White Nile state and in the central city of Madani, witnesses said.

Sudan military and opposition move closer in transition talks

Opposition leaders said on Thursday they had resolved major sticking points in talks with Sudan's military rulers, bringing them closer to a deal on forming a new transitional government.

"The agreement is really now just around the corner," Satea al Hajj, a leader in the FFC coalition of opposition groups, said in a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday.

Negotiations were set to restart later on Thursday, the spokesman for the military council said.

The opposition had demanded that members of the sovereign council should not be granted blanket immunity from prosecution for past crimes, but FFC leaders said on Thursday they had agreed that they could be granted only "procedural immunity"- meaning top officials could be tried with the permission of two-thirds of the legislative council.

The opposition leaders said both sides also agreed another key point, reaffirming that the parties included in the FFC would have 67 percent of the legislative council while the rest will be granted to other opposition and political groups.

Sudan's ruling military council did not immediately confirm the details of the agreements.

Security force at a bank killed protesting children - army

A top Sudanese army commander said a security force assigned to guard a bank in Al Obeid was responsible for killing protesting children in the city on Monday, the official SUNA news agency quoted him as saying on Thursday.

At least six people were killed at a rally in Al Obeid, 400km southwest of Khartoum, at least four of them children.

They were killed when security forces broke up a student protest in the city, opposition-linked doctors said.

The teenagers were rallying against fuel and bread shortages, residents said.

Wednesday, July 31

AU mediator urges trial for killers of school children

The African Union's mediator for Sudan called on Wednesday for a speedy trial for those responsible for killing school children at a protest in the city of Al Obeid.

The teenagers were rallying against fuel and bread shortages, residents said.

Mohamed Hassan Lebatt also called for the ruling military council and opposition coalition to sign a constitutional declaration they have been wrangling over for weeks.

A joint legal committee from both sides is due to meet later on Wednesday, where it is expected to complete its work on the document, he told a news conference.

A date will be set for signing the constitutional declaration after the meeting, he said, adding he hoped that would happen quickly. 

Tuesday, July 30

Violence in Sudan

Thousands of Sudanese students joined protests across the country on Tuesday, condemning the violent dispersal of a demonstration the day before that left six people dead.

Security forces opened fire on a demonstration by teenage students in the city of Obeid, southwest of the capital Khartoum on Monday.

Protest leaders said security forces caused the deaths, while local authorities said they had begun an investigation. The military condemned the violence.

Talks with generals cancelled after new killings 

Negotiators for Sudan's protest movement said they would not be holding planned talks with the country's ruling generals as they were visiting a town where five protesters were killed – four of whom were students.

"There will be no negotiations today as we are still in Al Obeid," Taha Osman, a negotiator from the protest movement told AFP news agency by telephone from the town where Monday's killings took place.

Sudan military rulers denounce Al Obeid killings 

The head of Sudan's ruling military council said there must be immediate accountability over the shootings in Al Obeid, according to state news agency SUNA.

"What happened in Al Obeid is a regrettable and upsetting matter and the killing of peaceful citizens is unacceptable and rejected and a crime that requires immediate and deterrent accountability," Abdel Fattah al Burhan was quoted as saying.

Monday, July 29

Five killed at a protest 

Five protesters including four students were shot dead and several wounded at a rally in a town in central Sudan on Monday, a doctors committee linked to the protest movement said.

"Five martyrs succumbed to direct wounds from sniper bullets during a peaceful rally in Al Obeid," the committee said in a statement.

Sunday, July 28

Fresh talks on Tuesday

Talks between Sudanese protesters and ruling generals on remaining issues related to installing a transitional civilian administration are to resume Tuesday, a mediator and protest leader said. 

African Union mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt said on Sunday that the two sides have been invited for "final talks on the Constitutional Declaration". 

Prominent protest leader Babiker Faisal also confirmed Tuesday's talks in Khartoum between the two sides, who signed an initial power sharing deal on July 17.

The statement came as Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday at scores of protesters demanding an independent probe into a deadly June raid on a Khartoum sit-in, despite an investigation identifying eight officers it said were involved.

Saturday, July 27

Preliminary talks held as part of ongoing peace efforts

Sudanese generals and protest leaders, who signed a power-sharing agreement, held preliminary talks with rebel groups in neighbouring South Sudan as part of ongoing peace efforts.

The meeting followed an agreement on Thursday between protest leaders and their rebel partners to end their differences over the accord signed with Sudan's military rulers earlier this month, vowing to work jointly for peace.

Arriving at the airport in the South Sudanese capital Juba earlier on Saturday, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the deputy chief of Sudan's ruling military council, told reporters he hoped the meeting would "restore peace" by focusing on "how we can implement the recent peace agreement we signed in Khartoum".

Sudan paramilitaries involved in deadly June 3 raid

The head of a Sudanese investigative committee said that 87 people were killed and 168 wounded on June 3 when a sit-in protest was violently broken up by security forces.

Fath al Rahman Saeed, the head of the committee, told a news conference that 17 of those killed were in the square occupied by protesters and 48 of the wounded were hit by bullets.

Some security forces fired at protesters and three officers violated orders by moving forces into the sit-in, he said, adding that an order was also issued to whip protesters.

Opposition medics have said 127 people were killed and 400 wounded in the dispersal, while the health ministry had put the death toll at 61.

Thursday, July 25

Protesters to march against political party allocation

Sudan's pro-democracy movement is calling for marches in the capital, Khartoum, and in other locations across the country.

This comes just hours after the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters, said they'd reached a deal to reconcile their differences with rebel groups that are also part of the movement.

Those rebel groups had rejected the final part of a power-sharing deal with Sudan's ruling generals, arguing it fails to meet their demands for peace.

The FDFC said the rebels had agreed that the transitional government should be responsible for achieving a peace deal.

Wednesday, July 24

Military general, officers arrested

Sudan's military said on Wednesday it had arrested a top general and several others over a foiled coup attempt announced earlier this month. 

"At the top of the participants is General Hashim Abdel Mottalib, the head of joint chiefs of staff, and a number of officers from the National Intelligence and Security Service," the military said in a statement. 

"Leaders from Islamic movements and the National Congress Party" of ousted leader Omar al-Bashir were also arrested, said the statement published by the official SUNA news agency.

Friday, July 19

Friday talks with army rulers postponed - protest leaders

Sudanese protest leaders said Friday talks with the country's army rulers have been postponed, just days after the two sides signed a power-sharing deal.

The delay in the signing of the second and possibly more contentious part of a power-sharing agreement with the country's military comes as the opposition says it needs more time to resolve differences among its members over the deal.

"The talks have been postponed," said prominent protest leader Omar al Digeir.

"We need more internal consultation to reach a united vision," he added, with no new date set for negotiations to resume.

The first part of the deal was signed earlier this week, marking a significant step forward amid simmering tensions between the protest movement and the country's military, which in April ousted longtime autocrat Omar al Bashir.

The two sides were expected to meet on Friday, negotiate and subsequently sign the so-called constitutional declaration that defines how much power each would have in the transitional period until elections are held.

Thursday, July 18

Thousands converge on Sudan square for 'martyrs' rally

Thousands of Sudanese demonstrators converged Thursday on a prominent square in Khartoum in a march to honour comrades killed in the months-long protest movement that has rocked the country.

Witnesses said men, women and school children waved Sudanese flags as they headed towards the Green Yard from different parts of the capital.

As they marched, the demonstrators shouted slogans that have been the rallying cries of the uprising that led to the April toppling of longtime dictator Omar al Bashir: "Civilian rule, civilian rule!" and "Freedom, peace, justice!"

The marches were held in response to calls from a key protest group.

"The rallies are a tribute to those honourable martyrs of the December revolution," the Sudanese Professionals Association said in a statement.

Riot police fired tear gas to disperse a rally at a central bus station in downtown Khartoum, witnesses said.

"Protesters who were dispersed are trying to mobilise again and continue with the rally. It's like a game of cat and mouse between them," a witness told AFP from the capital's Jackson bus station.

Wednesday, July 17

Power-sharing deal signed

Sudan's protesters and ruling generals on Wednesday inked a power-sharing deal, paving the way for a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since president Omar al Bashir was deposed in April.

The two sides initialled a document called the "Political Declaration", after intense talks through the night over fine details of the agreement.

The deputy chief of the ruling military council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who initialled the deal on behalf of the generals, said the agreement was a "historic moment" for Sudan.

Tuesday, July 16

Protesters against 'absolute immunity' to army

Sudan's key protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) is opposed to giving the military "absolute immunity" against prosecution for violence against demonstrators, a spokesman said, as the two sides held talks on a power-sharing deal.

"We refuse absolute immunity that the military rulers have asked for," Ismail al Taj, a spokesman for SPA told reporters in Khartoum.

His comments came just before the ruling generals and protest leaders sat down to fine-tune the landmark deal agreed earlier this month after mediation by African Union and Ethiopian mediators.

The deal, which is yet to be formally signed, aims to establish a transitional governing body to install a civilian administration for a period of just over three years.

Monday, July 15

Protests held over civilian's death

Scores of Sudanese demonstrators took to the streets in a Khartoum district on Monday night to protest against the killing of a civilian allegedly by paramilitaries the previous day.

Earlier Sudanese police fired tear gas and beat demonstrators as scores protested in downtown Khartoum against the killing of a civilian allegedly by paramilitaries the previous day.

Riot police beat several protesters and loaded them into trucks, while large numbers of police were deployed in the area. Witnesses said similar demonstrations took place in other parts of the capital.

On Sunday a civilian was shot dead in the town of El Souk southeast of Khartoum, as members of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces allegedly fired at protesters that the paramilitaries leave the town, according to residents and doctors close to the protest movement.

Sunday, July 14

Meeting between protesters and military postponed

Sudan's pro-democracy movement postponed a scheduled meeting with the country's ruling generals for a second time on Sunday, saying "further consultations" were needed before they would sign a power-sharing deal with the military. Activists leaders said the meeting was pushed back to Tuesday.

Activists also said paramilitary forces had opened fire on demonstrators in a southeastern town, killing at least one protester and wounding seven others.

The military and the pro-democracy coalition had agreed earlier this month on a joint sovereign council that will rule for a little over three years while elections are organised.

Members of the military council and the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters, were supposed to meet on Sunday night to finalise and sign the agreement.

Saturday, July 13
Thousands mourn protesters killed in raid

Sudanese protesters lit candles and released balloons in Khartoum as thousands rallied across the country to mourn dozens killed last month in a brutal raid on a protest camp. 

Crowds of protesters were violently dispersed by men in military fatigues in a pre-dawn raid on a sit-in outside army headquarters on June 3, killing dozens. 

Saturday's commemorative rallies came as mediators said talks between generals and protest leaders to discuss the finer details of a recently agreed power-sharing accord had been postponed to Sunday, at the request of protest leaders.

Thursday, July 11 

Ruling council foils military coup - state TV 

Sudan's state-run TV says the country's ruling military council has foiled an attempted military coup.

Initial reports suggest that at least 16 officers have been arrested. 

The development comes as the military council and protest movement leaders are in discussions on a power-sharing deal.

The military and a pro-democracy coalition agreed last week on a joint sovereign council that will rule for a little over three years while elections are organised.

Both sides say a diplomatic push by the US and its Arab allies was key to ending a weeks-long standoff that raised fears of all-out civil war.

Monday, July 8

Sudan military council to dissolve – army 

Sudan's top general said the military council that assumed power after the ouster of President Omar al Bashir in April will be dissolved with the implementation of a power-sharing deal reached with protesters last week.

The military and a pro-democracy coalition agreed last week on a joint sovereign council that will rule for a little over three years while elections are organised.

General Abdel Fattah Burhan, head of the military council, said in televised comments late on Sunday that the army would return to its barracks after 21 months when the leadership of the council passes from a military representative to a civilian.

The council will include five civilians representing the protest movement and five military members. An 11th seat will go to a civilian chosen by both sides. The protesters will select a Cabinet of technocrats and a legislative council is to be formed after three months.

Burhan also insisted that the military council did not order the violent dispersal of the main protest camp last month, which killed scores of people and led to the collapse of talks.

"We trust that military council members had nothing to do with what happened in the sit-in dispersal," he said.

As part of the power-sharing agreement, the two sides agreed on an independent Sudanese investigation into the deadly crackdown, but the details have yet to be worked out.

Saturday, July 6

Sudan protest leaders cancel civil disobedience campaign

Sudan's protest movement on Saturday said it has cancelled a nationwide day of civil disobedience that was planned for later this month, after reaching a power-sharing agreement with ruling generals.

Prominent protest leaders Ahmed al Rabie and Khalid Omar confirmed to AFP that the civil disobedience campaign had been cancelled.

"It is to give room for the agreement" to be implemented, Rabie said.

The protest umbrella group on Saturday released a new programme of events on social media networks, which makes no mention of the July 14 civil disobedience campaign.

US welcomes Sudan deal

The United States on Saturday welcomed a provisional agreement forged by Sudan's ruling military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups to share power for three years as an "important step forward."

The US State Department said in a statement that special envoy for Sudan Donald Booth will return to the region soon.

The agreement brokered by the African Union and Ethiopia Union, announced on Friday, is due to be finalised on Monday.

"We look forward to immediate resumption of access to the internet, establishment of the new legislature, accountability for the violent suppression of peaceful protests, and progress toward free and fair elections," the statement said.

Friday, July 5

Sudanese celebrate as deal is widely hailed

Crowds of jubilant Sudanese took to the streets of Khartoum on Friday to celebrate a landmark deal between protest leaders and the country's ruling generals aimed at turning the page on months of political unrest.

The power-sharing deal, reached in the early hours after two days of hard-won talks brokered by Ethiopian and African Union mediators, came after previous negotiations collapsed in May over who should lead the new body – a civilian or soldier.

The European Union on Friday hailed as a "breakthrough" a landmark deal between protest leaders and Sudan's ruling generals to bring months of unrest to a close.

"The agreement reached by the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change in Sudan on a three-year civilian-led transition, as announced by the African Union, is a breakthrough," said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Turkey is pleased that the ongoing negotiations in Sudan have led to an agreement, the foreign ministry said.

"We are pleased that the negotiations between the Transitional Military Council and the Forces of Declaration of Freedom and Change in Sudan have led to an agreement," read the statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday he was encouraged by a power-sharing deal.

Guterres "encourages all stakeholders to ensure the timely, inclusive, and transparent implementation of the agreement and resolve any outstanding issues through dialogue," said a UN statement.

Power sharing agreement reached

Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body on Friday, in a breakthrough power-sharing accord aimed at ending the country's months-long political crisis. 

"The two sides agreed on establishing a sovereign council with a rotating military and civilian (presidency) for a period of three years or little more," African Union mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt told reporters.

"We want to reassure all political forces and armed movements and all those who took part in the change... that this agreement is all inclusive and does not exclude anyone," deputy chief of the ruling military council General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said in a statement.

The latest round of talks had resumed Wednesday after intense mediation by Ethiopian and African Union envoys, who had put forward a draft proposal to break the weeks-long deadlock.

Wednesday, July 3

Opposition open to discussion

Sudan’s military rulers and the main opposition alliance started talks in Khartoum on Wednesday over who should lead Sudan toward elections.
A Reuters journalist saw representatives of the two sides meet at a hotel in the capital.
Earlier, Sudan’s main opposition alliance said it was prepared for direct talks with the country’s military rulers over who should head a sovereign council to lead Sudan’s transition to democracy. 

Talks between the two sides collapsed after members of the security services raided a sit-in protest camp outside the defence ministry on June 3.

Tuesday, July 2

Sudan protesters call for civil disobedience on July 14

Sudanese protest leaders called for a one-day nationwide "civil disobedience" campaign on July 14, days after they organised mass protests against the ruling generals that rocked the country.

The move, which aims to increase pressure on the ruling generals to hand power to a civilian administration, will be preceded by mass protests on July 13, the Alliance for Freedom and Change said in a statement.

UAE says dialogue important

It is important to continue dialogue in Sudan and avoid an escalation, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Tuesday, after protests against the ruling military.

"Dialogue should continue without antagonism and towards an agreement on transition...It is necessary to avoid conflict and escalation," UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter.

Monday, July 1

Death toll reaches 11

Sudanese activists said on Monday that at least 11 people countrywide had been killed in clashes with security forces during mass demonstrations demanding a transition to civilian rule.

Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and other areas Sunday in the biggest protests since security forces cleared a sit-in last month. 

Protesters blame generals for bloodshed at rally

Sudan's protest leaders blamed ruling generals for deadly new violence over the weekend at the first mass rallies since a June crackdown on demonstrators.

Nazim Sirraj, a prominent activist, said on Monday that three bodies were found next to a school in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum. 

Sirraj said the total death toll was 10, including one killed in the city of Atbara, a railway hub north of Khartoum and the birthplace of the December uprising that eventually led to Bashir's ouster.

Security forces deployed en masse in key Khartoum squares, firing tear gas in several places, including at protesters attempting to reach the capital's presidential palace.

Hundreds gather across Nile after deadly clashes

Hundreds of people gathered in the city of Omdurman across the River Nile from Khartoum to protest against the ruling military a day after fatal clashes between security services and protesters.

Members of the crowd said they came out after residents found the bodies of three young men riddled with bullets and dressed in civilian clothes close to the river early in the morning.

At least 600 people blocked off the main road leading to White Nile Bridge, which connects Omdurman to Sudan's capital, and set up barricades as riot police looked on.

Sunday, June 30

Seven killed in Sudan protests – state news agency

At least seven people were killed and 181 were wounded during a day of protests across Sudan, state news agency (SUNA) said late on Sunday, citing a health ministry official.

The protests on Sunday were the largest since a deadly raid by security forces on a protest camp outside the defence ministry three weeks ago.

At least five dead as thousands protest army rule

Five protesters were killed on Sunday during mass demonstrations that rocked the country as tens of thousands of people protested against the ruling generals, a doctors committee linked to the protest movement said.

"The death of four martyrs in the city of Omdurman on the road of our victorious revolution brings the number of martyrs to five" in Sunday's protests, the committee said, after it reported earlier that a protester was shot dead in the town of Atbara.

"There are several seriously wounded by the bullets of the military council militias in hospitals of the capital and the provinces," it added.

Thursday, June 27

Tear gas fired as students protest near palace

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse dozens of students demonstrating against the ruling military council at a financial academy in the heart of Sudan's capital Khartoum on Thursday, witnesses said.

Dozens of lawyers also gathered outside the main courthouse complex in Omdurman, Khartoum's twin city, calling for civilian rule and for people to join mass demonstrations planned for Sunday. 

They chanted: "Freedom, peace, and justice. Civilian (rule) is the people's choice."

UN puts brakes on peacekeepers' pullout from Darfur

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to put the brakes on the withdrawal of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur region as the country deals with a political crisis.

The council approved a resolution to extend the current mandate of the force, known as UNAMID, for four months until October 31.

It asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide an update in 60 days on the situation on the ground — and it asks the UN and AU to make recommendations by September 30 on what the council should do about continuing the withdrawal.

Monday, June 24

Sudan must allow monitors access - UN rights chief

Sudanese authorities must grant human rights monitors access to the country and end "repression" against protesters and the shutdown of the Internet, UN human rights boss Michelle Bachelet said on Monday.

Bachelet, in a speech opening a three-week session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said that her office had reports that more than 100 protesters were killed and many more injured during an assault by security forces on a peaceful sit-in on June 3. 

"Hundreds of protesters may be missing," she said. 

Sunday, June 23

Ethiopia, AU mediation needs to be unified - Sudan military

Sudan's army rulers appealed to the African Union and Ethiopia to unify their efforts in outlining a blueprint for a political transition in the crisis-hit country.

The generals, who seized power after ousting president Omar al Bashir in April, expressed reservations about an Ethiopian proposal that, according to protest leaders, calls for a civilian-majority ruling body.

Sunday's call by the ruling generals comes after the mediators met the military council's chief General Abdel Fattah al Burhan on Sunday.

"He (Burhan) underlined that the mediators' efforts should focus on preparing a joint proposal," the council's spokesman General Shamseddine Kabbashi told a news conference.

He also criticised the Ethiopian mediator for the delays and for presenting a proposal "different" to the AU's.

Sudan court orders company to end internet blackout - lawyer

A court ordered telecoms operator Zain Sudan to restore internet services, a lawyer said, after they were severed nearly three weeks ago when troops forcefully dispersed protesters camping in central Khartoum.

Abdel Adheem Hassan, a lawyer who filed his own case against Zain Sudan over the blackout, said the Khartoum District Court ordered Zain to "immediately restore internet services to the country".

Sudanese courts do not confirm or deny their rulings to the media.

Zain Sudan, a subsidiary of Zain Kuwait and the largest operator in Sudan, was not immediately able to comment on the matter on Sunday.

Hassan said a Zain representative had told the court in response to the petition that the company had been ordered verbally by "high authorities" to cut the internet.

A source at Zain said the telecoms regulator had ordered the internet outage and demanded that they be added as a party to the case in an appeal.

Saturday, June 22

Protesters accept Ethiopia plan

Sudanese protest leaders said they accepted the creation of a civilian-majority governing body for a political transition in Sudan as proposed by an Ethiopian envoy. 

The ruling military council has yet to give its decision on the Ethiopian proposal. 

"We think that our acceptance of the proposal is a major leap towards meeting the goals of the revolution, which are freedom, peace and justice," protest leader Babiker Faisal told reporters in a brief statement.

"It will put the country on the right track to create the transitional period that would usher in sustainable democracy."

Thursday, June 20

Protests still continue in Sudan 

Hundreds of Sudanese demonstrated in state capitals, seeking to revive a push for civilian rule in ongoing tumult since the overthrow of Bashir more than two months ago.

There were gatherings in each of the state capitals of Wad Madani, Al Ubayyid and Port Sudan to call for the Transitional Military Council to relinquish power.

Dozens also demonstrated in the national capital Khartoum, including employees from the private Bank of Khartoum, the country's largest, chanting "Civilian!" and waving Sudanese flags.

Sunday, June 16

Ex-leader appears in public for first time since ouster

Bashir appeared in public on Sunday for the first time since he was overthrown, as he was taken out of prison to the office of the anti-corruption prosecutor.

Bashir, wearing traditional white robes and turban, was driven in a Toyota Land Cruiser to the prosecutor's office in Khartoum, a Reuters witness said.

The military overthrew and detained Bashir on April 11 after 16 weeks of street protests against his 30-year rule. He was being held in prison in Khartoum North, across the Blue Nile from the capital's centre.

General to punish Khartoum killings perpetrators

A top Sudanese general vowed to send to the "gallows" those who carried out a deadly crackdown on a Khartoum sit-in earlier this month that left dozens of protesters dead and hundreds wounded.

"We are working hard to take those who did this to the gallows," Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy chief of the ruling military council said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

"Whoever committed any fault" will be held accountable, Dagalo added.

Saturday, June 15

Bashir to appear in court

Ousted Sudanese leader Bashir will appear in court next week to face charges of corruption and possessing foreign currency, the country's acting prosecutor general told reporters on Saturday.

"Ousted president Omar al Bashir will appear in court next week following charges of corruption and possessing foreign currency," Al Waleed Sayyed Ahmed said, without specifying the day.

Friday, June 14

Opposition, US seek investigations

Sudan's veteran opposition leader Sadiq al Mahdi called on Friday for an "objective" international investigation into last week's deadly crackdown on protesters, after the ruling military council rejected such a probe. 

Mahdi's call was backed by top US envoy Tibor Nagy, who urged an "independent and credible" investigation into the June 3 killings. 

Mahdi, speaking after attending Friday prayers at a mosque in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, condemned the operation. 

"The protest's dispersal was wrong. There should be an independent international investigation into it," he told AFP. 

"It's important that the probe is objective and not biased in favour of the authorities."

Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for Africa, also called for an investigation. 

"The USA believe very strongly there has to be an investigation which is independent and credible which will hold accountable those committing the egregious events," he said in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, after a two-day visit to Khartoum.

Thursday, June 13

Military rejected negotiations proposal from Ethiopian PM

Sudan's military rulers said on Thursday that Ethiopia's prime minister had suggested that negotiations between the rulers and the Sudanese opposition on a transition to democracy move to Addis Ababa.

The Transitional Military Council rejected that proposal, the council's spokesman said.

'Several coup attempts thwarted'

Sudan's military rulers said they had thwarted several coup attempts and that some officers had been arrested over the deadly dispersal of protesters at a sit-in in Khartoum earlier this month.

Two different groups of people suspected of involvement in the attempted coups had been arrested, the Transitional Military Council's spokesman said. One group consisted of five individuals while the other had more than 12 members, he said.

The council itself took power in a coup on April 11 when military officials ousted and detained former President Bashir after months of protests against his 30-year autocratic rule.

Sudan military admits dispersing sit-in

Sudan's ruling military council for the first time admitted it dispersed a Khartoum sit-in, which left dozens dead, as US and African diplomats stepped up efforts for a solution to the country's political crisis.

The military council had "decided to disperse the sit-in", said spokesman Kabbashi.

"We ordered the commanders to come up with a plan to disperse this sit-in. They made a plan and implemented it ... but we regret that some mistakes happened."

He said the findings of an investigation into the incident would be released on Saturday.

Sudan charges ousted leader Bashir with corruption

Sudan's state prosecutor's office said that Bashir had been charged with corruption after the completion of an investigation.

The charges were related to laws on "suspected illicit wealth and emergency orders", the public prosecutor's office said without giving more details.

It has not been possible to get a comment from Bashir since his ousting.

UN says it confirms 17 deaths in Sudan's Darfur

The United Nations said it had confirmed the killing of 17 people and the burning of more than 100 houses in Deleij village in the Darfur region of Sudan earlier this week.

The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur also said 15 people were injured and the violence "occurred during heated clashes between nomads and residents apparently angered by the increase in commodity prices at the local market".

Opposition medics said "Janjaweed militias" fired live ammunition at civilians on Monday at a market in Deleij, Central Darfur, killing 11 people and wounding 20 others.

The Janjaweed are Arab militias who have been accused of committing atrocities in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, during a civil conflict that started in 2003 and, according to UN estimates, has killed up to 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million.

Wednesday, June 12

US joins diplomatic push to salvage agreement in Sudan

The United States named a special envoy to Sudan to find a "peaceful" solution between demonstrators and generals, as protest leaders demanded "international guarantees" for implementing any agreement reached with the army rulers.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the – triggered by the June 3 crackdown on protesters – got a boost as Washington nominated experienced Africa hand Donald Booth as a special envoy to Sudan to help craft a "peaceful political solution" between the generals and protesters.

Booth, who previously has served as special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, was already in Khartoum along with Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs Tibor Nagy to "engage with the parties," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

Late on Wednesday protest leader Madani Abbas Madani told reporters that "any agreement (reached with generals) must have regional and international guarantees" for implementing it. He did not elaborate.

Independent investigation needed - UN rights experts

UN rights experts called for the Human Rights Council to set up a probe into possible violations committed by Sudan’s security forces against “peaceful protesters”.

Sudan is “sliding into a human rights abyss,” a group of five United Nations experts said in a joint statement.

The experts called for an “independent investigation” to be set up by the UN Human Rights Council, which opens a new session on June 24.

The signatories of the statement include Aristide Nononsi, who focuses on human rights in Sudan, as well as the special rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, and Agnes Callamard, the rapporteur on extrajudicial or summary executions.

UN human rights experts are independent specialists who do not speak for the world body.

Khartoum resumes activities but residents wary

Shops began to reopen in Sudan’s capital but many residents stayed indoors after demonstrators called off a nationwide civil disobedience campaign that had brought Khartoum to a standstill.

The slow return to normalcy came after an Ethiopian mediator announced that the protest leaders and the ruling military council had agreed to resume talks following a deadly crackdown on a weeks-long sit-in.

The negotiations collapsed last month because the two sides disagreed about whether a civilian or soldier should head a new governing body.

Tuesday, June 11

UN Security Council strongly condemns Sudan violence

The UN Security Council on Tuesday strongly condemned recent violence in Sudan and called on Khartoum's military rulers and protest movement to work toward a solution to the crisis.

In a unanimous statement, the council called for an immediate halt to the violence against civilians and stressed the importance of upholding human rights.

Sudanese militia kills 9 people in Darfur village – doctors

A Sudanese militia has shot dead nine people in a village of the war-torn region of Darfur, a doctors committee linked to the country's protest movement said.

The "massacre" was carried out on Monday by the Janjaweed in Al Dalij in Central Darfur state, the committee said on its Facebook page.

The Janjaweed, a militia accused by rights groups of widespread abuses in the Darfur region, have been absorbed in Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

"Yesterday, they fired live ammunition on citizens in the souk of Dalij," the doctors' committee said.

"Following the systematic massacre, the doctors in the area of Dalij received 11 dead and 20 wounded."

"The doctors confirmed that nine citizens were killed by bullets and sticks of the Janjaweed. However, the cause of death of the other two or who they were was unclear," the committee said.

Protesters, military rulers to resume talks – Ethiopian envoy

Protest leaders have agreed to end their civil disobedience campaign launched after a crackdown on demonstrators and resume talks with Sudan's ruling generals, an Ethiopian mediator said on Tuesday.

"The Alliance for Freedom and Change agreed to end the civil disobedience (campaign) from today," Mahmoud Drir, who has been mediating since a visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week, told reporters.

"Both sides have also agreed to resume talks soon" on a handover of power to a civilian administration, he said.

The protest movement itself said in a statement that it was calling on people "to resume work from Wednesday."

Sudan's military council also agreed to release political prisoners as a confidence-building measure, Dirir said.

Monday, June 10

Top US envoy heads to Sudan to call for halt to attacks on civilians

A top US diplomat will head to Sudan this week to urge an end to a bloody crackdown on protesters, Washington said Monday, as a nationwide civil disobedience campaign challenged the African country's ruling military council.

Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, plans to meet both members of the military leadership and protest leaders in Khartoum, the State Department said.

He is to leave on the trip on Wednesday and also visit Ethiopia to discuss the Sudan crisis with the regional power as well as the African Union.

"He will call for a cessation of attacks against civilians and urge parties to work toward creating an enabling environment" for talks to resume, the State Department statement said.

Sudanese rebel chief expelled from country

A Sudanese rebel chief said Monday he was deported from Khartoum to South Sudan with two comrades hours after authorities claimed to have released the three men from detention.

"I was deported against my will... I have not been released; I have been deported from my country," Yasir Arman, deputy chief of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), told AFP at a hotel in South Sudan's capital Juba.

Sudanese state television reported earlier on Monday that Arman –– together with fellow leading rebels Ismail Jalab and Mubarak Ardol –– had been released from custody.

A statement from SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar said the three officials had been "denied access their accommodation" and deported in a military plane to Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

Sudan's military blames protest leaders for escalation

Sudan's ruling military blamed the country's protest movement for an escalation as the second day of the opposition's general strike kicked in on Monday in the protesters latest bid to pressure the army to hand over power to civilian rule.

For the second day, shops and businesses were closed in the capital, Khartoum, though there was visibly more traffic in the streets than on Sunday, when the strike began.

But the military's latest harsh words — describing actions by the protest movement as doing major harm to Sudan and its security — reflected that th e ruling generals are hardening their stance.

TMC to 'enhance' presence of armed forces in streets

Lieutenant General Jamaleddine Omar of Sudan's TMC said that the ruling council "has decided to enhance the presence of the armed force - Rapid Support Forces and other regular forces - to restore life back to normal…"

Omar claimed that protestors were barricading roads, which was a "complete crime" that was "infringing the freedom of the citizens."

The Sudan Doctors' Committee, the medical affiliate of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), says 118 people have been killed since June 3.

The military-run Health Ministry has offered a lower death toll of 61, including 49 civilians and three security forces in Khartoum.

Sunday, June 9

At least four people killed

Four people were killed in Sudan on Sunday on the first day of a "civil disobedience" campaign by protesters, a doctors' committee linked to demonstrators said.

Two people were shot dead in the capital Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman just across the Nile river, the Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said, adding two others died in a hospital in Omdurman after being stabbed.

Protesters launch general strike after crackdown

Sudanese police fired warning shots on Sunday to disperse protesters building roadblocks in the capital, as part of a civil disobedience campaign against the ruling generals following a bloody crackdown that left dozens dead.

Protesters set about building roadblocks in Khartoum while markets and shops were closed in several other towns and cities. People gathered tyres, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks in the capital's northern Bahari district.

But riot police swiftly moved in, firing gunshots in the air and tear gas at demonstrators before clearing the makeshift barriers, a witness said.

Several vehicles of the feared RSF, blamed by witnesses for the killings during the crackdown, were seen Sunday moving across some parts of the capital loaded with machine guns.

Saturday, June 8

Opposition calls for civil disobedience

A key protest group on Saturday announced a nationwide "civil disobedience" campaign it said would run until Sudan’s ruling generals transfer power to a civilian government. 

The call by the SPA, which first launched protests against longtime ruler Bashir, came days after a bloody crackdown on demonstrators left dozens dead in Khartoum and crushed hopes for a swift democratic transition.

"The civil disobedience movement will begin Sunday and end only when a civilian government announces itself in power on state television," the SPA said in a statement. 

"Disobedience is a peaceful act capable of bringing to its knees the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world." 

It was still unclear how the campaign would unfold on the streets, especially in Khartoum where all key roads and squares have been deserted since Monday’s crackdown.

Ethiopian PM offers plan for new transitional council

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has proposed setting up a new transitional council in which civilians would be in the majority, the opposition leaders said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the TMC thanked Ethiopia for its mediation efforts, state news agency SUNA said.

The TMC expressed its "openness and keenness to negotiate to reach satisfactory understandings that will lead to a national consensus..., leading to the establishment of a democratic transition," SUNA said.

Abiy had on Friday urged Sudan's military rulers and civilian opposition to exercise "bravery" in trying to agree steps towards democracy after the worst bloodshed since the overthrow in April of President Bashir.

While no breakthrough was announced at the end of Abiy's one-day visit, an aide to the Ethiopian prime minister said the talks went well and that Abiy would be returning to Sudan soon.

Forces arrest protest leaders who met Ethiopia PM

Sudanese security forces arrested two prominent rebels and an opposition leader, a day after they met the Ethiopian premier during his reconciliation mission to Khartoum, their aides said on Saturday.

Prime Minister Abiy, who has emerged as a key regional leader, met representatives of both sides on Friday in a bid to revive talks between Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders after a deadly crackdown left dozens of people dead in the capital this week.

Among the protest movement delegates he met were opposition politician Mohamed Esmat and a leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), Ismail Jalab.

Sudanese security forces later arrested both men without giving any reason, their aides told AFP on Saturday. Esmat was arrested on Friday soon after his meeting with Abiy. Jalab was arrested from his residence early on Saturday.

Friday, June 7

Opposition accepts Ethiopian PM as mediator

Sudan's opposition says it accepts Abiy as mediator between military rulers and opposition under certain conditions.

The statement comes after the visiting Ethiopian premier held talks with the members of Sudan's opposition Forces for Freedom and Change in the capital Khartoum.

Ahmed seeks 'quick' democratic transition

Ethiopian PM Abiy called for a "quick" democratic transition in Sudan on Friday after talks in Khartoum with the country's protest leaders and ruling generals.

"The army, the people and political forces have to act with courage and responsibility by taking quick steps towards a democratic and consensual transitional period," he said in a statement, during a visit to revive talks between the two sides after a deadly crackdown by security forces on demonstrators.

Ethiopia's PM meets opposition 

Abiy met and held talks on Friday with members of Sudan's opposition Forces for Freedom and Change, his office said in a tweet.

"He expressed Ethiopia's commitment to fostering peace in the region and underlined that a prerequisite for restoring peace in Sudan is unity," Abiy's office said.

Earlier on Friday, Abiy's office said he met the chief of Sudan's ruling military council in a bid to ease the political crisis.

At least '113 killed' – doctors

The death toll from the military crackdown on protesters has reached 113, the CCSD said.

''Due to internet cuts and pressure on doctors, we have just received information since Wednesday on those who lost lives," one of their Facebook posts read. 

"The death toll rose to 113, including four in Port Sudan and one in Khartoum, due to the bullets of the Janjaweed militias and the Transitional Military Council,'' the committee said.

“Since the first day of the events, the number of bodies delivered to hospitals has reached 61,” deputy health minister Suleiman Abdel Jabbar said regarding the official death toll.

WHO concerned over crackdown

The World Health Organization says security forces are making “incursions into Khartoum hospitals,” forcing shutdowns of emergency and health services. Five patients and medical workers injured.

The WHO statement said, “these actions represent a total and unacceptable violation of international human rights law and must stop.”

It said tent clinics set up to treat injured protesters have been set on fire and destroyed, medical equipment looted, and health care workers assaulted. Rapes of female health workers have also been reported.

UK summons envoy to raise concerns about Sudan violence

Britain's Foreign Office summoned Sudan's ambassador to raise concerns about violence in Khartoum, a spokeswoman said.

Thursday, June 6

Sudan suspended till civilian government formed – AU

The African Union's Peace and Security Council voted to suspend Sudan from all AU activities until a civilian government has been formed.

The body posted on Twitter that the suspension will remain until "the effective establishment" of a civilian-led transitional authority, "as the only way to allow Sudan to exit from the current crisis."

The council made the announcement after a meeting in Addis Ababa of the member states of the pan-continental body. 

Amnesty International calls for international action

Amnesty called for international action against Sudan's new military rulers and condemned the government's Rapid Support Forces (RSF)  for what it called a "murderous rampage" against protesters this week.

In its statement, AI singled out the paramilitary force as being a main participant in the violence.

Death toll from violence rises to 61 – health ministry

The official death toll in Sudan from violence that erupted on Monday has risen to 61, the director general of the health ministry said, up from its previous toll of 46.

Jabbar said that of the 61 documented cases, 52 were from the capital Khartoum and they included 49 civilians killed by gunfire and three security personnel who died from stab wounds. 

The rest were from other provinces.

Medics linked to the opposition have put the death toll far higher, at 108.

Russia says 'extremists' must be subdued – RIA

Russia said it opposed foreign intervention in Sudan and the authorities in Khartoum must subdue what it described as extremists, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted as saying that Moscow favoured a national dialogue about a transition period leading to new elections.

"Naturally, in order to do that, you need for order to be imposed, and you need to fight against extremists and provocateurs who don't want the stabilisation of the situation," RIA quoted Bogdanov as saying.

He did not identify which groups he considered to be extremists and provocateurs.

Civil disobedience to continue – protest leaders

Sudan's pro-democracy leaders are vowing to press their campaign of civil disobedience until the TMC is ousted and killers of protesters are brought to justice.

The pledge comes after new clashes brought the death toll in three days of the military's crackdown to 108. In one of the most shocking moments, troops pulled 40 bodies of the victims from the Nile in Khartoum on Wednesday.

The SPA, which was behind months of rallies that drove Bashir from power, asked people to block main roads and bridges to "paralyse public life" across the country in retaliation for the crackdown by the feared paramilitaries of the RSF in the capital Khartoum.

UAE calls for resuming talks

The United Arab Emirates, which has been a key supporter of Sudan's ruling TMC, called for resumed talks.

The TMC, which physically ousted Bashir on April 11, offered on Wednesday to reopen negotiations but was turned down by protest organisers.

"The UAE hopes that wisdom, reason and constructive dialogue will prevail between all Sudanese parties, in a way that guarantees security and stability," the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.

Health ministry denies higher toll

The death toll did not exceed 46, state news agency SUNA reported, citing a health ministry official.

The report came after opposition-linked medics said more than 100 people had lost their lives in the violence. 

In a Facebook post, the CCSD said the death toll rose from 60 to 108 after over 40 bodies were pulled from the Nile. 

The field report mentioned more bodies were recovered from the river later and are not included in the 108 death toll.

Wednesday, June 5

Military council vows 'fair investigation'

TMC deputy head General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as Hemedti, in comments to RSF members carried on state TV, said later: "We issued a decision today to investigate fairly and transparently what happened at the sit-in."

In a statement, the military council said the RSF had a strong track record of defending Sudan against terrorism and said an organised social media campaign since Monday's violence was aimed at "spreading lies" and "fabricating charges".

The TMC said some RSF members were attacked and people had put on their uniforms to impersonate them.

Death toll rises to 108 - doctors committee

The death toll from a crackdown on protesters in Sudan’s capital has risen to 108, the CCSD said.

Three children from one family were among the victims, said the committee, adding that at least 509 people had been wounded.

“The number of deaths has climbed to 108 as more bodies were found in the Nile River and three children from one family were killed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF),” the committee said in a statement.

The committee noted that more bodies are still being retrieved from the Nile.

Hospitals in Khartoum said they were struggling to cope with the number of wounded.

'40 bodies pulled from Nile in capital'

More than 40 bodies of people slain by Sudanese security forces were pulled from the Nile River in Khartoum,  pro-democracy protest organisers said.

The reported discovery of the bodies in the Nile suggested that Monday's violent dispersal of the protest movement's main sit-in camp, outside the military's headquarters, was even bloodier than initially believed. 

During the mayhem, the protesters' doctors committee said witnesses reported seeing bodies loaded into military vehicles to be dumped into the river.

UN pulls staff

The United Nations said it is temporarily removing some civilian staff from Sudan because of the security situation in the country.

"What we are doing is temporarily relocating some of the staff from Sudan. There will still be some staff on hand to perform critical functions but because of security some ... are being relocated temporarily," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

The spokesman provided no information on how many staff were being moved, where they were going, when they might return and how many would remain in the country. 

Protest leaders reject army's offer to talk

Sudanese protest leaders dismissed a call for talks with the ruling generals, saying the military cannot be serious about negotiations while troops keep shooting and killing protesters. 

A spokesman for the protesters said they would instead continue their pro-democracy campaign to pressure the military to hand over power to a civilian authority.

Military offers more talks

Head of the TMC General Burhan said the generals were ready to resume negotiations and that there would be "no restrictions" in talks with the leaders behind the months-long street protests.

"We open our hands to negotiations with all parties ... for the interest of the nation," Burhan said, adding that those responsible for the violent break-up of the demonstrators' sit-in in the capital, Khartoum, would be held accountable.

Burhan had earlier cut the negotiations and cancelled all agreed-on points between the military and the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, an alliance which represents the protesters.

Saudi Arabia urges for dialogue

Saudi Arabia said it is watching developments in Sudan with great concern and it supports continued dialogue between the ruling military council and the opposition.

Saudi Arabia has close ties to the council, which has taken control of Sudan since the overthrow of Bashir in April.

Burhan and his deputy have ties to the two Gulf states through the participation of Sudanese troops in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's civil war. 

Sudan's opposition Democratic Alliance of Lawyers on Tuesday urged "some Arab countries" not to interfere in Sudanese affairs and to drop their support for the military council - comments apparently aimed at Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Monday, June 3

Security forces stormed a protest camp outside the Ministry of Defence in Khartoum, a major setback in efforts to create a democracy and rebuild a country plagued by rebellions, economic crises and international isolation caused by Bashir's policies.

Talks between the TMC, which has ruled Sudan since Bashir was overthrown, and the opposition have ground to a halt amid deep differences over who should lead a three-year transition to democracy.

A medical student and a university student who took part in the sit-in said a large number of the paramilitary RSF led the dawn assault.

The RSF, commanded by Hemedti, were accused by human rights groups of genocide during the war against rebels that began in Darfur in 2003.

Bashir's government denied allegations that the Arab Janjaweed militias, later transformed into the RSF, had burned villages and raped and executed civilians.

The medical student first realized there was trouble at a barrier just outside the camp at 5 am. He heard bullets and saw people dropping as they ran towards him. He ran to a clinic at the sit-in.

"People were vomiting blood, choking on their own blood, drowning in it actually," he said.

He and some doctors treated one man with a fractured skull. Brain tissue was spilling out, he said.

Most of the soldiers were young. "They didn't look like they had any military training of any kind," he said.

A young university student, who also asked to remain anonymous, corroborated the medical student's account of the shootings.

At first, about 30 RSF fighters entered the sit-in site. Then large numbers arrived and they swelled to over 1,000. Security forces were whipping people with rubber hoses and long wooden sticks, and kicking them, he said.

"People were dropping all around me after they were shot. Some people fled into buildings. The security forces followed them in and attacked them," the university student said.

"I was almost shot. While all of this was happening I could see snipers stationed on several rooftops keeping an eye on everything."

The RSF lacks the discipline of Sudan's regular army but has played a vital role in strengthening the position of its new military leaders.

The paramilitary force has also helped Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen's civil war. Not long after the coup, those two oil powers pledged billions of dollars in support to Sudan.


This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.

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