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HRW voices concern about Sudan’s Bashir controversial statements on use of violence

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President Omer al-Bashir speaks to police senior officers at the headquarters of the “police house” in Burri suburb on December 30, 2018. (AFP Photo)
December 31, 2018, (KHARTOUM) – Statements of Sudanese President Ome al-Bashir about police use of violence are "raising concern about more bloodshed" said Human Rights Watch on Sunday.

Speaking to the police senior officers on Sunday ahead of nationwide protests planned for Monday, al-Bashir said the police have to "maintain security but without arbitrariness (or excessive violence) by applying all internal security principles and using the least possible force," he said.

He further cautioned that their goal is not to kill people but to preserve security and protect public and private property.

However, al-Bashir statements exhorting the police to use the "least possible force" against the peaceful protesters was seen by many as implying that police can use violence and triggered massive reactions all over the social media and was condemned by rights groups.

"President al-Bashir appears to be making public speeches that justify excessive use of force instead of condemning this brutality," said Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch in a statement released on Sunday evening.

Also, Sudan Human Rights Network (SHRN) issued a statement condemning the statement saying "deeply concerned about Omer al-Bashir’s recent statement to police officers to kill protesters in Sudan".

Henry further stressed that the Sudanese authorities an "unambiguous message" to the security forces stating not to use lethal force against the protesters.

There are conflicting reports about the death toll as Amnesty International said 37 people were killed and the opposition alliance on Sunday said it has reached 40 victims. However, the Sudanese government acknowledged that only 19 were killed.

HRW pointed to the need to immediately investigate "all reported killings, injuries, unlawful detentions, and torture and ill-treatment of detainees and hold those responsible to account".

(ST)

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