First Sudan security death as coup opponents keep up protests

People stage a demonstration demanding the restoration of civilian rule in Khartoum, Sudan on January 9, 2022.(Photo by Mahmoud Hjaj/ via Getty Images)
People stage a demonstration demanding the restoration of civilian rule in Khartoum, Sudan on January 9, 2022. (Photo by Getty Images)

A senior Sudanese police officer was killed Thursday during protests in the Sudanese capital, an official statement said, as security forces fired tear gas at thousands who kept up rallies against an October military coup.

Brigadier General Ali Bareema Hamad, “fell martyr while doing his duties and securing protests” in the capital, Khartoum, the police statement said on Facebook, without giving details of how he was killed.

His was the first fatality announced among security forces since protests calling for a return to civilian rule began more than two months ago.

A security crackdown on protests has left at least 63 people dead and hundreds wounded, according to medics, who said many of the protesters were killed by live rounds.

Thursday’s rallies converged from several parts of Khartoum and came after a United Nations (UN) bid to facilitate talks between rival Sudanese factions received tepid support.

The UN push aimed at resolving the crisis since the October 25 military coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the resignation of the civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok earlier this month.

Demonstrators also took to the streets in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman as well as in Port Sudan in the country’s east, according to witnesses.

Protesters in Khartoum converged on the city center chanting: “With all our power, we are heading to the palace”.

Others hollered: “Burhan is dirty, brought to (power) by the Islamists,” who were dominant under the three-decade rule of general-turned-president Omar al-Bashir, ousted in April 2019 following months of mass protests.

Following a repeated pattern, security forces fired volleys of tear gas to disperse the protesters in Khartoum and Omdurman, witnesses said.

Online footage appeared to show demonstrators hurling stones and unexploded canisters of tear gas at security forces near the presidential palace.

The military takeover derailed a fragile transition to civilian rule following Bashir’s ouster.

Authorities have repeatedly denied using live ammunition in confronting protesters and insist scores of security forces have been wounded during demonstrations that have often “deviated from peacefulness”.