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Sudanese government planning violent crackdown against protesters, opposition says

April 7, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The opposition Sudanese professional Association (SPA) accused senior government officials of seeking to use violence against protesters outside the army headquarters.

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Sudanese protesters flash the victory sign at a passing military vehicle as they rally for a second day outside the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum on April 7, 2019 (AFP/Getty Images)

On Sunday, thousands of Sudanese continued their sit-in outside the headquarters of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) for the second day to demand president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s resignation and the army taking their side.

The security services tried to disperse the biggest protest the capital has ever witnessed since the start of demonstrations last December, but army’s junior officers prevented them.

Since the sit-in began on Saturday, security forces fired tear gas several times in an attempt to clear the protesters, but thousands remained.

Reports in Khartoum claimed that First Vice-President Awad Ibn Ouf who is also Defence Minister sent orders to break up the sit-ins, after a meeting held with President al-Bashir and his former First Vice President Ali Osman Taha.

The reports went on to say that the order was rejected by several army generals who feared a significant death toll.

The Sudanese information minister who is also the government spokesperson Hassan Ismail warned against an impending civil war due to the state of polarization and accused SPA of receiving foreign money that drove the current protests.

The SPA in a call issued by its foreign affairs committee said the meeting decided to end protests outside the army headquarters "at any cost".

"Such information indicate the strong possibility of a massacre being planned against peaceful Sudanese citizens tonight," further said.

"We urgently call upon you to exert all forms of pressure against Bashir’s government to stop it from using any form of violence against peaceful protesters," stressed the call which was written in English.

Ismail stressed that the SPA has no message but to oust Bashir which means they reject dialogue.

The Sudanese Professionals who oversee the 4-month protests against al-Bashir in coordination called on all countries, international actors, the UN and human rights organizations "to closely monitor the situation in Sudan and to take due action".

Bashir last Thursday called on the opposition for an expanded dialogue based on the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference of October 2016.

The Sudanese opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi, for his part, called on Bashir to step down and to ensure a peaceful power transition by handing over the power to 25 member body.

(ST)