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Khartoum's Rabaa: Sudanese Islamists say military crackdown echoes Sisi's 2013 sit-in massacre

Security forces patrol as worshippers gather for Eid prayers in Khartoum on June 5 [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 June, 2019

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As bodies of massacred protesters continue to be pulled from the Nile, Sudan's Islamists lead strongly worded condemnation of military violence that saw at least 108 killed on Monday.
Sudan’s Islamist forces condemned the killing of over 100 civilian protestors on Monday as a “barbaric massacre”, as dumped corpses of slain protesters continue to be exhumed from the River Nile.

Chief overseer of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan, Awdallah Hassan Sayed Ahmad, described the security forces’ deadly attack on protesters staging a peaceful sit-in as a repeat of the 2013 Rabaa al-Adawiya Square massacre in Cairo.

Egyptian security and military forces raided two peaceful pro-Morsi sit-ins on August 13 2013, one of them sprawled around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in the northern Cairo suburbs.

Read more: Sudan uprising: Echoing the voices of the youth

Approximately 817 protesters, with some estimating a death toll of over 2000, the majority of whom were unarmed Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Many bodies of the protesters were burned after the massacre in Cairo, leaving them charred and unrecognisable.

Speaking to Arabic news site Arabi 21, Ahmad described the incident in Khartoum as especially “ugly” as it occurred during the holy month of Ramadan, adding that it requires condemnation “in the strongest terms”.

He also accused the military junta currently wielding power as having been given a green light from backers Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, pointing out that they may have influenced the UN’s failure to issue a resolution against the violence consuming Sudan's capital.

"The atmosphere is not conducive to any dialogue amid continued killings of and crackdown against civilians which strips them of any security," said Ahmad.

“There will be no dialogue with those who kill without hesitation during Ramadan and hand the country over to militias,” he added.

The leader of Sudan’s main Islamist faction, the Popular Congress Party, also condemned the crackdown on peaceful anti-junta protests.

Abu Bakr Abdul Razzak told Arabi 21 that Monday’s massacre was a “black mark” on the history of the Sudanese Revolution.

The remarks come as 40 bodies of slain protestors were pulled from the Nile in Khartoum on Wednesday, according to a Facebook statement by the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.

Wednesday’s discovery increased the death toll of the Eid massacre to 108, however activists on the ground fear the death toll to be far higher than the current figures.

The Rapid Support Forces, paramilitaries said by rights groups to have their origins in the Janjaweed militias accused of abuses during the 16-year-old conflict in Darfur, are thought to have been largely behind the crackdown.

The security and militia forces are thought to have dumped bodies in the river as a way of concealing the true number of people killed.

The leader of the protest movement the Alliance for Freedom and Change, Ahmad al-Rabi told The New Arab his group pulled 45 corpses from the river following the massacre, adding that the number could continue to rise as teams were still looking for bodies.

Some of the victims had been shot and some bodies were charred

“Some of the victims had been shot and some bodies were charred,” added al-Rabi, pointing out that the tents of the sit-in were likely set alight by security forces and the militia.

Meanwhile, Sudan's health ministry claimed "no more than 46" people died in the crackdown on Khartoum protesters.

"Doctor Suleiman Abdul Jabbar, undersecretary for the health ministry, denied in a press statement what some media had reported about the number of dead in the recent events reaching 100 individuals, confirming that the number was no more than 46," state news agency SUNA reported late Wednesday.

Read more: Is Sudan joining the anti-Qatar bloc?

The military ousted president Omar al-Bashir in April following months of protests against his authoritarian rule, but thousands of protesters had remained camped out in front of army headquarters calling for the generals to cede power to a civilian government.

The crackdown on their sit-in was condemned by the UN secretary general, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Despite protesters’ claims the militias carried out the attack, the country's ruling generals say it was a "clean up-operation" that went wrong and deny having forcibly broken up the sit-in.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, key backers of the ruling generals, have meanwhile called for a resumption of "dialogue between the various parties".

Agencies contributed to this report.

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