cloudy.png
Saturday December 14th, 2019 10:36AM

Ethiopian premier visits Sudan, trying to ease deadly crisis

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Ethiopia's prime minister arrived in Sudan on Friday to try and mediate between the ruling military and the country's protest leaders amid an army crackdown that has killed over 100 people this week.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed first met with Sudanese generals who in April ousted longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and took over the country after four months of mass protests against his rule. The protesters, however, remained in the streets, demanding the military hand over power to civilians.

The young Ethiopian reformist premier — who since taking office a year ago has been at the center of high-profile diplomatic efforts in the Horn of Africa region, including a surprise restoration of diplomatic ties with rival Eritrea — held talks with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the ruling military council, in Khartoum.

The visit comes after the African Union, based in Ethiopia, suspended Sudan on Thursday over the deadly crisis roiling the nation. The AU also threatened "punitive sanctions" if the military doesn't quickly relinquish power to civilians.

The crackdown — a new violent chapter for Sudan — started on Monday when security forces dispersed the protest movement's main sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum. Protesters alleged that since then, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and other security forces have carried out attacks in over a dozen cities and towns, killing, beating and raping civilians.

According to Sudan Doctors' Central Committee, one of the protest groups, the casualty tolls on Friday stood at 113 people killed and more than 500 wounded. More than 40 bodies of people slain in the crackdown were pulled from the Nile River this week in Khartoum, the group added. Security forces were seen taking the bodies away but the committee said it wasn't known where they were taken.

As Abiy met with Burhan and other generals, the head of the Rapid Support Forces, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo — better known as Hemedti — was "conspicuously absent" in photos shared by the Ethiopian prime minister's office, according to Rashid Abdi, a former project director with the International Crisis Group.

"That is significant," he wrote on Twitter. "Lends credence to reports of push to sideline the RSF commander."

Dagalo's forces are blamed for most of the atrocities in the crackdown. The RSF grew out of the Janjaweed militias used by al-Bashir's government to suppress the Darfur insurgency in the early 2000s, a scorched-earth campaign that led to his indictment by the International Criminal Court on charges including genocide.

In a statement released late Thursday, Sudanese protest leaders demanded that the RSF be dismantled and dissolved.

Later Friday, Abiy also held talks with the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of political groups and parties representing the protesters.

After al-Bashir's ouster, the Ethiopian prime minister had congratulated the Sudanese people for their "resilience in leading change" toward a democratic Sudan. He had met with Burhan during the general's visit to Addis Ababa last week, when he committed to "non-interference" in the situation but urged inclusiveness in the political process.

Awol Allo, a lecturer in law at Keele University in Britain and an Africa analyst, told The Associated Press he believes Ethiopia's Abiy stands a "much better chance" than anyone else in bringing the two sides in Sudan's crisis together.

Abiy "brings a lot to the table, from his own experience of leading a complex transition to a massive amount of positive energy, and the weight of Ethiopia's power within the region," the analyst said.

Meanwhile, the U.N. health agency said Friday it is gravely concerned over the targeting of patients, medical staff and facilities in Sudan during the military's crackdown.

Security forces are making "incursions into Khartoum hospitals," the World Health Organization said, forcing shutdowns of emergency and health services. Five patients and medical workers have been injured.

"These actions represent a total and unacceptable violation of international human rights law and must stop," WHO said.

The agency also added that tent clinics set up to treat injured protesters have been set on fire and destroyed, medical equipment looted, and health care workers assaulted. Rapes of female health workers have also been reported.

Talks between the ruling military council and protesters over the make-up of a transitional government following al-Bashir's ouster were halted amid the crackdown.

Leaders of the protest movement turned down an offer by Burhan to resume talks this week, saying they could no longer trust the generals while troops are shooting and killing protesters.

The Sudanese Professionals' Association, which has been spearheading the anti-government protests since December, said it would instead press its campaign of civil disobedience until the military council is ousted and killers of protesters are brought to justice.

___

ElHennawy reported from Cairo and Anna from Johannesburg.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US-Mexico talks continue, Trump says more progress needed
Talks between US, Mexican officials continue as Trump's 5% Mexico tariff deadline looms
4:18AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Julia Roberts, Spike Lee toast Denzel Washington at event
Julia Roberts, Spike Lee toast Denzel Washington at AFI Life Achievement gala
4:08AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Ethiopian premier visits Sudan, trying to ease deadly crisis
Ethiopian PM in Sudan to mediate between ruling military, protest leaders amid army crackdown that's killed over 100
4:04AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US commander says Mideast buildup prompted Iran 'step back'
US commander in Mideast: Iran appears to 'step back' in response to American buildup in Persian Gulf area
2:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Probe finds 'state actor' led attack on tankers
International investigators say last month's attacks on oil tankers in a United Arab Emirates port were led by a foreign state
2:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
Mexico's tequila exporters warily eye US tariffs deadline
Mexican exporters of tequila, the key ingredient in margaritas, are as worried as anyone about possible slumping revenues and job losses over threatened US tariffs on all imports from the country
12:01AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP World News
US-Mexico talks continue, Trump says more progress needed
Talks between US, Mexican officials continue as Trump's 5% Mexico tariff deadline looms
4:18AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Julia Roberts, Spike Lee toast Denzel Washington at event
Julia Roberts, Spike Lee toast Denzel Washington at AFI Life Achievement gala
4:08AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Teens graduating in California town nearly destroyed by fire
A Northern California town that was mostly destroyed by a wildfire is celebrating the graduation of its high school class
3:30AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Famed Indian climber nearly died on peak where team was lost
Legendary Indian mountaineer says modern mountaineering bears little resemblance to the expeditions he led, with tight schedules and climbers' inexperience leading to more casualties on Himalayan peaks
3:15AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden reverses position on Hyde abortion amendment
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is reversing course and declaring he no longer supports a long-standing congressional ban on using federal money to pay for abortions
3:12AM ( 1 hour ago )