Sudan: Violence Toll Rises to 60 amid Political Deadlock
By Staff- Agencies
The number of people killed since security forces stormed a protest camp outside Sudan's Defense Ministry in central Khartoum two days ago has risen significantly to 60, a doctors group linked to the opposition said on Wednesday.
The death toll had earlier been put at 35.
Talks between the Transitional Military Council, which has ruled since President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in April, and the opposition have ground to a halt amid deep differences over who would lead a three-year transition to democracy.
Security forces fired live ammunition at dawn on Monday as they wiped out the sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum that had for weeks become the protesters' main rallying point in their long struggle for civilian rule.
The committee said it held "the militias of the [military] council ... responsible for this massacre".
Protesters have previously singled out the Rapid Support Forces, paramilitaries with origins in the 16-year-old war in the western region of Darfur, whose commander is deputy chairman on the ruling military council.
On Wednesday, hundreds of residents of the northern suburb of Khartoum Bahri blocked streets with barricades made from stones and waited by them in silence.
Army ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Tuesday apologized for the violence and said the Transitional Military Council, [TMC], which seized power in April after overthrowing authoritarian leader Omar al-Bashir in the wake of months-long mass protests, would launch an investigation.
Al-Burhan also said the council was scrapping a plan for a three-year transition period and would hold elections within nine months - a plan rejected by the opposition.
"We consider it a statement of a coup and a counterattack on the people's revolution," Omer Eldigair, head of the Sudanese Congress Party, told reporters.
"We refute it all, from its beginning to the end. We refuse the call for an early election and we consider the statement of the military council conforms to the counter-revolution and is linked to the interests of the old regime."
Separately, the Security Council met on Tuesday at the request of Britain and Germany to hear a briefing from UN envoy Nicholas Haysom, who has been working with the African Union [AU] on a solution to the crisis in Sudan.
But China, backed by Russia, blocked a bid to condemn the killing of civilians and issue an urgent call from world powers for an immediate halt to the violence, according to diplomats.
During the closed-door session, Britain and Germany circulated a press statement that would have called on the TMC and protesters to "continue working together towards a consensual solution to the current crisis", according to a draft seen by reporters.
But China strongly objected to the draft while Russia insisted that the council should await a response from the AU, diplomats said.