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  • Sudanese protesters gesture and chant slogans at a barricade along a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 5, 2019.

    Sudanese protesters gesture and chant slogans at a barricade along a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 June 2019

The African Union, in response to military killing protesters, suspended Sudan's membership from the regional bloc. 

The African Union (AU) has suspended Sudan Thursday from the regional bloc in response to its brutal crackdown by the military on protesters.

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The AU's Peace and Security Department said on Twitter that Sudan's participation in the AU is immediately suspended "until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority" is established as the only way to "exit from the current crisis."

Since Monday, at least 108 Sudanese protesters have been killed and more than 500 wounded, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, demanding civilian elections and an end to the Transitional Military Council's (TMC) rule. According to a health ministry official, the death toll is 61.

The doctor’s committee claimed that the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which controls the capital city of Khartoum, pulled 40 bodies out of the Nile River Tuesday and took them to an unknown location.

"The RSF, the special military force which killed, raped and tortured thousands in Darfur, brings its murderous rampage to the capital," Amnesty International said in a statement.

"Reports that bodies have been dumped in the river demonstrate the utter depravity of these so-called security forces." The main protest organizers, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), accuse the TMC of perpetrating “a massacre” as it broke up a protest camp Monday, a charge denied by the council.

Since the ousting of long-time President Omar Al-Bashir in April, Sudan has been governed by the army-led TMC, many of whose members were a part of Bashir's ousting. The SPA had been talking with the council to negotiate when elections would be held until this week. The two sides had agreed elections would be held within three years, but the SPA wanted a civilian council to takeover during the transition. The TMC insisted it would continue to rule during the interim and responded to the continued sit-ins by firing at protesters Monday.

“The protesters holding a sit-in in front of the army general command are facing a massacre in a treacherous attempt to disperse the protest,” the protest group said.

Demonstrations began last December demanding the former president's removal from office. Bashir was charged by the International Criminal Court for crime against humanity in 2009.

The AU Commissioner Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat called for an "immediate and transparent investigation in order to hold all those responsible accountable.”

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