Sudan’s military rulers offered to resume talks with opposition groups yesterday, two days after security forces mounted a deadly raid on a protest camp, but the opposition rejected the invitation.
Medics linked to the opposition said the death toll from Monday’s operation and subsequent unrest had risen to 101 and that it was expected to increase further. No official casualty figures have been released.
The raid, which followed weeks of wrangling between the ruling military council and opposition groups over who should lead Sudan’s transition to democracy, marked the worst outbreak of violence since the army ousted President Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his rule.
The Transitional Military Council canceled all agreements it had reached with the opposition immediately after the raid but on Wednesday it rowed back amid mounting international criticism of the violence. “We in the military council extend our hand for negotiations without shackles except the interests of the homeland,” its head, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said on state TV.
But a Sudanese alliance of protesters and opposition groups rejected the offer, saying the military could not be trusted. “Today the council invited us to dialogue and at the same time it is imposing fear on citizens in the streets,” Madani Abbas Madani, a leader of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), told Reuters. Madani said Burhan’s invitation had come before the arrest of one of the opposition alliance members, Yasir Arman, deputy head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebel group.
Opposition medics said that 40 dead bodies had been pulled out of the Nile on Tuesday and taken to an unknown destination by pick-up trucks belonging to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. That brings the total death toll from the recent violence to 101, the medics said. Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report.
Meanwhile, Eritrea has issued a scathing attack on the African Union (AU), accusing it of “posturing” over the crisis in Sudan. A statement from the Ministry of Information in Asmara urged the international body to “refrain from internationalising and exacerbating the situation in the Sudan”.