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10.06.2019 Sudan

Life limps back to Sudan capital on day 2 of civil campaign

Residents walk past barricades in the Sudanese capital.  By - (AFP)
JUN 10, 2019 SUDAN
Residents walk past barricades in the Sudanese capital. By - (AFP)

Several shops opened and buses plied the streets Monday as life limped back to the Sudanese capital on the second day of a nationwide civil disobedience campaign called to pressure the ruling military into handing over power.

The timid return to normalcy came as the ruling military council announced that security forces on the streets would be boosted after four people were killed in clashes on Sunday -- the first day of the campaign -- two in Khartoum and two in the capital's twin city of Omdurman, just across the Nile river.

The civil disobedience campaign comes a week after a deadly crackdown on protesters in Khartoum left dozens dead and almost two months since the April 11 ouster of Sudan's longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir following months of protests.

Protesters had set up several roadblocks across many areas of the capital that the ruling generals have vowed to remove in order to bring "life to normal".

On Monday, several shops, fuel stations and some branches of private banks were open across Khartoum, an AFP correspondent who toured the capital said.

Public transport buses were also ferrying passengers, while more vehicles and people were seen on the capital's streets.

"If I work it does not mean that I don't support the revolution," said bus driver Abdulmajid Mohamed.

"I have to work to support my family or else we will have no money."

The generals have blamed protesters for a deterioration in security in Khartoum and across the country.

"The Alliance for Freedom and Change (umbrella protest movement) is fully responsible for recent unfortunate incidents... including blocking roads which is violating international humanitarian laws," Lieutenant General Jamaleddine Omar said on state television late Sunday.

"The Military Council has decided to reinforce the presence of armed forces, RSF and other regular forces to help normal life return," the council member said, including the feared Rapid Support Forces, blamed by witnesses for the killings last week as a sit-in protest outside army headquarters was cleared.

He said security forces would provide "security to isolated civilians, reopen roads and facilitate the mobility of people, public and private transport and protect markets and strategic state installations".

Campaign to run until civilians take power

The civil disobedience campaign was launched after men in military fatigues on June 3 raided the weeks-long sit-in leaving dozens of people dead, according to protest leaders who said several bodies were removed from the Nile.

Residents of Omdurman walk through the market district in the Sudanese capital's twin city.  By Ashraf SHAZLY (AFP) Residents of Omdurman walk through the market district in the Sudanese capital's twin city. By Ashraf SHAZLY (AFP)

The overall death toll since June 3 has reached 118, according to a doctors committee linked to the protesters who are pressing the military to hand over power to a civilian administration.

The health ministry, for its part, says 61 people died nationwide in last week's crackdown, 49 of them from "live ammunition" in Khartoum.

The Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors blamed forces supporting the ruling generals for the deaths on Sunday.

In the capital's northern Bahari district, people gathered tyres, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks as the campaign began.

But riot police swiftly moved in, firing gunshots in the air and tear gas at demonstrators before clearing the makeshift barriers, a witness said.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which first launched protests against Bashir in December, has said the disobedience campaign would continue until power is transferred to a civilian government.