500 deaths, 723 injured civilians, 650 arrests, 84 rapes and over a thousand missing citizens Sudan is in a rapidly escalating socio-political crisis. Despite the efforts of people on the ground, there’s little understanding of exactly what’s happening in the northeast African country that is home to over 40 million people.
Civilian protesters have been attacked by the country’s military, with reports of more than 100 killings and 70 rapes during a single attack in the country’s capital, Khartoum, last week, and dozens of “bloated bodies” reportedly being dragged from the river Nile.
Following months of pro-democracy protests against President Omar al-Bashir in April, he was ousted by the military and arrested after 30 years in power. In 2010, he was charged by the international criminal court of having led a genocide in Darfur in western Sudan.
Representatives of the protesters began discussions with the military over who would take over when al-Bashir was ousted. When these talks broke down last Monday (3rd June), the military reportedly killed dozens and wounded hundreds of protesters during a crackdown on a protest camp, described by Al Jazeera as the “worst violence” in the country since al-Bashir’s overthrow.
Since then, the turmoil has intensified and doctors put the death toll at around 500 with 118 bodies being dumped into the Nile since 3rd June, while hundreds more have been beaten, arrested and detained, and more than 70 women have reportedly been raped by paramilitaries, according to those same doctors.
A state-imposed internet blackout has been in place in the country for over a week, according to reports, making it even more difficult for activists and civilians to share what is happening with the world. Hashtags including #IAmSudanRevolution and #SudanUprising have sprung up in an attempt to rally other nations along with blue display pictures being installed onto profiles and a petition being signed on change.org.
Most African countries and those in the West have sided with the protesters, said certain the BBC reports. The African Union, comprised of 55 member states, has voted to suspend Sudan until a civilian-led transitional authority is put in place. Some countries have been quicker than others to condemn the military violence, with Saudi Arabia reportedly holding back for fear of inspiring similar protests at home, according to speculation by the BBC.
The US condemned the events of 3rd June as a “brutal attack” and the EU condemned the Sudanese military, while the UK laid “full responsibility” with the military council. The UN is removing non-essential staff from the country, but due to opposition from China and Russia, it will be unable to impose sanctions, the BBC reported. That being said, a general trend has been to compare this massive crisis to the accidental fire that gulped in the Notre Dam with Activists condemning acts of giving religion a notch above humanity. In all of this happening in some other part of the world, we at Caucus: The Discussion Forum of Hindu College decide to stand with Sudanese and their fight for rights and democracy.