Pope Francis on Sunday, June 9, appealed for peace in Sudan following a bloody crackdown by security forces on pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum last week.
“The news coming from Sudan is giving rise to pain and concern. We pray for these people so that the violence ceases and the common good is sought in the dialogue,” the pope said in his weekly address to crowds in St Peter’s Square.
Opposition medics say 113 people were killed in this week’s violence in the Sudanese capital, while the government has put the death toll at 61, including three members of the security services.
Sudan’s main alliance of opposition groups and protesters have urged workers and employees to stay home on Sunday, launching what it called a campaign of civil disobedience to force military rulers to hand over power to civilians.
A civil disobedience called by Sudanese protest leaders has taken off across the country according to reports on early Sunday, June 9.
Multiple neighbourhoods of the capital Khartoum have been deserted with very little sign of social life. The presence of security agents is however pronounced, the reports added.
The Forces for Freedom and Change, FFC, an umbrella body for protest groups called for the civil disobedience following a chaotic last week that saw a Khartoum sit-in violently dispersed by special forces.
The measure has also affected air travel at the country’s main airport with travellers stranded. Emirates Airlines has also announced a suspension of all flights to Khartoum till Monday, June 10 citing political unrest.
Meanwhile, a major FCC player, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has stressed that it will not return to talks with the ruling junta, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) till its demands are met.
As at today, an internet cut that was imposed mid-week last week continues to be in effect, reports have confirmed. Social media platforms, however, continue to be key in putting out information on ongoings in the country.
A summary of Sudan’s week of deadly chaos and continental concern:
- June 3rd: RSF forces (ex-Janjaweed) forcibly break up Khartoum sit-in
- June 4th: TMC scraps earlier deal with protest group, announces elections in nine months
- June 5th: TMC backtracks on talks, says open to dialogue. Protesters hold out. Eritrea jabs African Union over crisis.
- June 6th: AU suspends Sudan over June 3 crisis, failure to ensure civilian transition. Internet cuts reported
- June 7th: Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed meets sides in Khartoum in mediation effort. Protesters call for civil disobedience
- June 8th: Protest leaders reiterate conditions for return to dialogue.
- June 9th: Civil disobedience kicks off.