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Pregnant woman killed as Sudan military forces clash in Khartoum

The incident occurred on the final day of a two-day nationwide strike [AFP]

Date of publication: 30 May, 2019

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A pregnant street vendor was shot dead on Wednesday in a skirmish between military forces in Sudan.
A pregnant woman was shot dead on Wednesday as members of Sudan's military clashed in the capital Khartoum.

The woman, identified as a street vendor named Mayada Joon, was killed by "stray bullets" in a clash between "elements of the army and out of control soldiers", the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said on Wednesday.

The deadly skirmish came on the second and final day of a two-day general strike in protest against the country's military rulers.

Workers across the country were on Tuesday and Wednesday demonstrating against failed negotiations between civilian representatives and the governing transitional military council, which has so far refused to cede to protesters' demand for a civilian leader and majority in an agreed-upon joint civilian-military transitional council.

Called for last week by protest organisers the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the nationwide strike has seen planes grounded, newspapers unpublished, and businesses and public institutions shuttered.

The military reportedly attempted to force the employees of Sudan's Central Bank to work on Tuesday, allegedly beating and detaining workers and confiscating cash boxes when employees refused to comply, although social media posts indicated that protesting workers were able to strike unimpeded the following day.

The SPA said on Wednesday that it had not yet received "any communications" from the military towards restarting negotiations.

Demand for 'justice'

The reason for the clash between military forces on Sudan's central Nile Street thoroughfare is yet uncertain.

In an official statement on Wednesday, the transitional military council claimed Joon had been shot in the head and killed immediately by a "drunk soldier" who had used his "personal weapon" after "fighting" between civilians and the military.

It added that a civilian and a soldier had also been injured in the incident and that the soldier responsible had been arrested, claiming that the shooting had been an "isolated" incident.

The SPA also confirmed that others had been injured, but did not number the casualties.

Others have blamed the killing on a skirmish between military and paramilitary forces.

"The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the military seem to have had some sort of argument, which led to a shoot-out between the two sides and in which a pregnant woman got shot," reported Al Jazeera correspondent Hiba Morgan.

The RSF is an official paramilitary force and an offshoot of the infamous Janjaweed militias allegedly responsible for war crimes in the Darfur conflict.

It is commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, the current deputy leader of Sudan's transitional council, and has been accused of killing protesters, as well as of grave human rights abuses in the country's South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur conflict zones.

"We condemn such childish and irresponsible behaviour by the armed forces whose presence should secure the safety and security of the citizen," said the SPA in a statement on Wednesday.

"We demand that those responsible be brought to justice."

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