KHARTOUM: Rights groups slammed Sudan on Friday for killing protesters demonstrating against fuel subsidy cuts, saying 50 people were shot dead in the country’s worst riots since 1989.
Activists, meanwhile, called for the protests to carry on and urged the security forces to side with the people.
Trying to maintain a blackout on the trouble, the authorities seized or blocked publication of three newspapers, even though they are considered pro-government, journalists said.
Friday’s Al-Sudani and Al-Majhar al-Siassi dailies were seized at the printing press, they said, while Al-Watan was ordered not to print after covering the unrest in its Thursday edition.
The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies and London-based Amnesty International said 50 people were killed after being shot in the head or chest on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Local sources and activists have put the figure much higher, in excess of 100,” the groups said in a joint statement.
They also expressed “deep concern” about reports of hundreds being detained and urged the authorities “to ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment.”
“Shooting to kill—including by aiming at protesters’ chests and heads—is a blatant violation of the right to life,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty.
Reports from Khartoum on Thursday said at least 29 people were killed since rioting erupted on Monday in the largest protests since President Omar al-Bashir seized power 24 years ago.
Police confirmed the 29 fatalities without giving details, but hospital and other sources said most had been shot dead.
“At least 50 people have been killed and 100 injured since the protests began, according to sources interviewed by the organizations,” the rights groups said.
The statement said the dead included a 14-year-old Khartoum boy.