UN removing some staff from Sudan as tensions soar
Iran Press TV
Thu Jun 6, 2019 07:09AM
The United Nations (UN) says it is temporarily removing a number of its civilian staff from Sudan because of the deterioration of the security situation in the African country, two days after security forces killed dozens of people during a crackdown against a sit-in in the capital, Khartoum.
"What we are doing is temporarily relocating some of the staff from Sudan. There will still be some staff on hand to perform critical functions, but because of security, some... are being relocated temporarily," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq on Wednesday.
However, he provided no information on how many personnel were to be relocated, when they might come back, and how many would remain in Sudan.
On April 11, the Sudanese military overthrew and then imprisoned 75-year-old president Omar al-Bashir after some four months of widespread protests against him over dire economic conditions and the soaring prices of basic commodities. Bashir himself had come to power through a military coup in 1989.
Following Bashir's ouster, the coup leaders established the so-called Transitional Military Council (TMC), presumably to run state affairs in the post-Bashir era.
But the coup leaders also moved to consolidate power and faced popular protests themselves.
Protest leaders later began negotiating with the generals in an attempt to work out a peaceful transition, and while the two sides had made some progress in the talks, the negotiations abruptly broke down in May over remaining disagreements. The protest movement then called a general strike, and tensions soared.
Then came the crackdown on the sit-in.
On Monday, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attacked a main protest camp in Khartoum, prompting clashes with the protesters, who had been camping out there for months to demand that the TMC hand over power to a civilian government.
Sit-in death toll now at 108
Meanwhile, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is associated with protest groups, said the death toll from the crackdown had risen to 108, including three children from one family. It added on Wednesday that at least 509 people had also been wounded by member of the RSF.
Following the crackdown, the TMC scrapped all agreements with the protesters and called an election. It also said it was open to new negotiations with the protesters, who rejected both the elections and the offer for new talks.
Additionally on Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)'s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was watching developments in Sudan with great concern.
The UAE is part of a Saudi-led military coalition waging war on Yemen since March 2015. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war so far. And a large portion of the forces employed by the coalition are Sudanese.
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