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Offices probing Sudan 2019 deadly crackdown raided

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People take part in a lit vigil in the streets of Nairobi on June 13, 2019, to support civilian rule after a deadly crackdown on demonstrations triggered a campaign that brought the capital to a halt. AFP

Offices probing Sudan 2019 deadly crackdown raided

Sudanese security forces have raided the offices of an independent committee probing a 2019 crackdown in which more than 100 demonstrators were killed, the head of the inquiry said on Monday.

“The committee’s offices have been taken over by security forces, who have allowed other civilian authorities to enter,” lawyer Nabil Adeeb said in a statement.

Committee members were “not allowed to retrieve the inquiry’s material”, he said.

“The committee has decided to stop its operations until after its offices have been evacuated by those who raided it.

“We need to ensure that no documents have been tampered with, and conduct a security check to ensure there remains no equipment which could be used to reveal security secrets.”

Last October, military chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led a coup that derailed a fragile power-sharing arrangement between the army and civilians that had been painstakingly negotiated after the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

This is the second such committee targeted since the coup, after a panel set up to recover wealth looted by the Bashir regime was suspended in November.

Two panel members, accused of embezzlement by Burhan in the media, are behind bars awaiting formal charges.

Pro-democracy activists have accused Burhan’s new military administration of seeking to reinstall the security and political apparatus of the old regime.

An initial investigation into the 2019 crackdown had incriminated the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, Burhan’s number two.

The 2019 sit-in had initially demanded the removal of Bashir.

After the autocrat stepped down in April of that year following months of demonstrations, protests continued to demand the transfer of power to civilian rule.

On June 3, 2019, armed men in military fatigues violently dispersed a protest camp outside army headquarters. The crackdown left 128 people dead, according to medics linked to the protest movement.

Later that year, civilian premier Abdalla Hamdok, who assumed power at the head of a transitional government, set up the investigation committee into the crackdown.

The inquiry had yet to announce findings when Hamdok’s civilian government was toppled last October.

Protests are ongoing in the country to demand a return to civilian rule and justice for those killed in demonstrations, including at the June 2019 sit-in.

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