Violence triggers diplomatic push to save Sudan

Sunday January 23 2022
Sudan protesters

The UN has condemned the use lethal force against protesters in Sudan. PHOTO | AFP


Sudan’s violence has triggered an intensified diplomatic push to save the country’s transition from falling apart. But that push is facing challenges as protestors keep up opposition to the military junta that took power in October.

On Wednesday, a young man was shot dead in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city to the north. At least 72 people have so far been killed and 2,300 others wounded since the protests began on October 25, according to the count of Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, a civilian movement.

The UN has condemned the use of live ammunition and lethal force against protestors, which led to the deaths of seven people last Monday and more than 100 injuries in the ongoing protests.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the violence to allow mediation.

The EU has also condemned the abuse of military power in a strongly worded statement that emphasising that EU countries “will support the aspirations of the Sudanese people for democracy by all available means." EU foreign policy chief Josep Burrell said Sudan's military rulers have shown unwillingness to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the ongoing crisis.

Friends of Sudan Group, a lobby of countries led by Saudi Arabia, held a meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh on Tuesday and reiterated the need to redouble efforts to support the Sudanese people in their aspirations for civilian rule, stability, prosperity, and democracy.


UAE, US, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and representatives from the UN and other regional organisations attended the meeting.

Media clampdown

According to the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani, the situation in Sudan continues to be of serious concern, with peaceful protesters killed or injured on a near-daily basis as well as a clampdown on critics of the authorities.

“We call on the Sudanese authorities to stop targeting journalists, to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fully respected, that peaceful protests are facilitated rather than met with unnecessary and disproportionate force,” the UN official said.

Coinciding with the rising security tensions, a US delegation was holding talks in Sudan to calm the situation.

On Wednesday, the delegation led by Molly Phee, assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, and David Starfield, the new US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, met with members of the Executive Office of the Forces for Freedom and Change who complained about continual repression.

The violence has been seen as the first hurdle to the initiative of the UN Integrated Mission for The Support of Transition in Sudan to unify demands by different groups. The UN launched the initiative last week but civilian movements have shunned it until the junta stops crushing protesters and agrees to give way for a civilian government.

Khartoum, in the meantime, has been seeking support of its new allies including Israel and the US.

On Wednesday, an Israeli delegation arrived in the Sudanese capital and met with The President of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.