A Human Rights Watch report published on Wednesday stated that Sudan’s armed forces used lethal force against peaceful protesters on the 11th of this May, in reference to the events surrounding the June 3rd sit-in dispersal commemoration that led to the killing of two young protesters.
“Sudan’s armed forces used excessive and lethal force against peaceful protesters gathered in Khartoum on May 11, 2021, to commemorate victims of a 2019 deadly crackdown”, the report said.
The report stressed that Sudan’s international partners are required to play a role in ensuring justice and overseeing the Sudanese authorities’ commitment to reforming the security forces.
The HRW report also included eye-witness testimonies of the flow of events leading up to the killing, with some recounting the violent measures undertaken by regular forces in dispersing the assembly.
The eye-witness testimonies reported unprovoked soldiers roughing up protesters by attacking them with their rifles’ butt ends, fists, and sticks.
One protester at the site even described the sight of a soldier holding and firing his assault rifle at a level that would make evading the bullets virtually impossible.
“He was holding the gun at a direct level toward people, not in the air. He was shooting like he did not care where it [the bullet] would hit.”
The Events of May 11th
Last Tuesday, the December Revolution Martyrs’ Families Organization held a commemoration for the victims of the June 3rd violent dispersal of the sit-in square.
The organization had previously stated that the government had ignored their official request for such a commemoration to take place.
The call to break the Ramadan fast (Iftar) at the General Command square, the same place the June 3rd atrocity took place in, drew in thousands of people.
During the assembly, the association of families called for the dissolution of the Rapid Support Forces and for Sudan to form a unified national army.
They also accused the Vice President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo (Hemetti) and his brother Abd Al-Rahim Hamdan Dagalo, of committing the sit-in crimes.
Reports began to surface around evening of live ammunition and tear gas being deployed to break up the assembly.
News of two people being killed by live ammunition and dozens others wounded began surfacing.
The two victims were then identified as Othman Badr al-Din and Mudathir Mukhtar.
In the HRW report, one eyewitness went on to recount Mudathir’s final moments before dying from a sustained gunshot.
“One of the soldiers at that time was kneeling, directing his gun toward us when he pulled the trigger. Suddenly I felt someone near me fall down. I looked back and it was Mudathir on the ground bleeding from his chest.”
Post May 11
The following days after the incident saw the resignation of Sudan’s Attorney General, Taj al-Sir al-Hibr, after the army had delivered more than 99 members of its personnel for public prosecution.
Al-Hibr had previously demanded the suspects be delivered to justice, while affirming that an examination of Mudathir’s autopsy report suggests his murder may have been intentional.
Prime Minister had also declared last week that courts in Sudan have been looking at a number of martyrs’ cases, in reference to the 2019 violent crackdown on peaceful protesters.
The report concluded that the chaos witnessed on the 29th of this past Ramadan highlight Sudan’s reliance on military troops who may not be well trained in law enforcement tactics, or fail to apply them and thus resort to excessive or lethal force.