Sudan Discovery of mass grave could be linked to deadly sit-in

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The bodies of at least 25 men were found on the opposite side of the White Nile to where a protest was violently broken up by security forces

A Sudanese protester walks past burning tyres as military forces tried to disperse a sit-in outside Khartoum’s army headquarters on June 3, 2019.

Authorities have uncovered a mass grave close to where demonstrators were violently dispersed outside Khartoum’s army headquarters in 2019, Sudan’s prosecutors said.

The bodies, uncovered on the other side of the White Nile to the headquarters, include at least 25 men killed and buried in an “inhumane” manner, the Investigation Committee for Missing People formed by the Attorney General found.

The committee believes the 25 were “killed and buried in a manner incompatible with human dignity”, state media reported.

After exhumation, the bodies will be DNA tested and autopsied to determine the cause and date of death, the committee said according to Sudan’s News Agency (SUNA).

Head of the committee investigating the deadly demonstration dispersal, Adib Nabil told The National that there is a chance the bodies are linked to the violent crackdown on anti-government sit-ins on June 3, 2019.

Mora than one year on, the death toll is still unclear and dozens of people remain unaccounted for.

Official government figures say 87 people were killed but an opposition union of doctors says the number is closer to 130.

“Scores of people were killed on that day, and there are reports that we are neither confirming nor denying, that bodies were hidden from being discovered,” Mr Nabil said.

Protests raged across the country to topple former President Omar Al Bashir and his regime between December 2018 and April 2019. But the June 3 sit-in marked one of the deadliest days of the demonstrations, which raged after his resignation.

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Negotiations under the auspices of the African Union under Ethiopian mediation led to the formation of a power-sharing agreement between civilians and the military including members of Sudan’s ousted President Omar Al Bashir.

Sudan former president Bashir
Sudan former president Bashir

As part of the agreement, an investigation was launched into the deaths and human rights violations committed on the night of June 3, the last day of Ramadan 2019.

“The Missing Persons committee and ours are independent from each other but we are in touch with them. Once they have any confirmation that the mass graves are related to the sit-in, we will launch an investigation of our own,” Mr Nabil told The National.

The Human Rights Lawyer maintained that it was important to keep the current findings of his committee hidden to “prevent forging of documents, information and to prevent perpetrators from escaping punishment”.

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