CAIRO (AP) — Security forces have targeted hospitals and blocked injured protesters from treatment since the military seized control of the country last month, Sudanese doctors said Monday, after raising the total number of anti-coup protesters killed to 41.
Security forces have stopped ambulances, entered emergency rooms to arrest patients, and fired tear gas inside at least two hospitals in Khartoum since the Oct. 25 coup, according to a report from The Unified Office of Sudanese Doctors, a coalition of medical workers.
The Sudan Doctors Committee, the group that released the new death toll, said that the latest victim was a 16-year-old killed by a gunshot to the head as he was protesting a new power-sharing deal between the military and the country’s deposed prime minister on Sunday. The group tracks protest-related deaths.
There was no immediate response from the country’s military or police, who have both been accused by the United Nations’ top human rights body of using excess force against the pro-democracy demonstrations.
But on Monday, the country’s second-most powerful general awarded an extra month’s salary to all police force members.
General Mohamed Dagalo, the commander of the country’s large paramilitary known as the Rapid Support Forces, said the police have “faced great pressures in the past period,” according to a report on Sudan’s state news agency. He said the bonus was for their efforts to maintain stability in the country.
The United States and Western countries have repeatedly called on the coup leaders to allow civilians to protest peacefully.
But police officials have in recent days tried to distance themselves from any role in the deaths, saying their forces in the streets are not armed and that protesters have committed violence. They have repeatedly pledged to investigate reports of deaths.
On Sunday, Sudan’s deposed prime minister Abdalla Hamdok signed a deal that will see him reinstated, almost a month after a military coup put him under house arrest. The agreement envisions an independent, technocratic Cabinet to be led by Hamdok until elections can be held. Even then, it would still remain under military oversight.
In response, thousands of Sudanese took to the streets Sunday to denounce what many called a betrayal of the democratic cause by their former prime minister, who has been the civilian face of the transitional government since it took power after a 2019 popular uprising deposed longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Security forces then fired tear gas and live ammunition in some locations, according to activists. The country’s main pro-democratic political groups issued statements objecting to the deal that reinstalled Hamdok.
The statement by the doctors’ coalition said that police fired tear gas inside the Khartoum Teaching Hospital on Sunday, near the intensive care unit and neonatal ward.
A large number of demonstrators have been killed by gunshots fired by security forces, according to the committee. Families of the recently killed protesters are mourning the dead.
Marwa Salah, whose brother Abu Bakr Salah was shot in the chest during a protest last Wednesday, said that she is determined to keep demonstrating against the military takeover.
“We will either die like them, or we will take what was rightfully theirs,” she told The Associated Press.
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