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UN chief to Sudanese army: reverse coup, heed protests

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UN chief to Sudanese army: reverse coup, heed protests

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UN chief urged Sudanese generals to reverse takeover of the country

CAIRO – UN Secretary-General on Sunday urged Sudanese generals to reverse their takeover of the country, a day after tens of thousands took to the streets in the world’s largest pro-democracy protest since last week’s coup.

Antonio Guterres said generals should “heed” Saturday’s protests. “It is time to go back to the legitimate constitutional provisions,” he said in a tweet.

He was referring to a power-sharing deal that established a joint military-civilian regime after the ousting of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

Guterres expressed concern over the violence against protesters on Saturday, calling for those responsible to be held accountable.

At least three people were shot dead when security forces opened fire on protesters in Omdurman, a town adjacent to the capital Khartoum. A doctors’ union also said more than 110 people were injured by live ammunition, tear gas and beatings in Omdurman and elsewhere in the country.

With Saturday’s deaths, the total number killed since Monday’s coup rose to 12, according to the Committee of Sudanese Doctors and Activists. More than 280 others have been injured over the past week.

The coup came after weeks of mounting tensions between the military and civilians, and the generals had repeatedly called for the dissolution of the transitional government.

General Abdel-Fattah Buhran, who led the coup, said the takeover was necessary to prevent a civil war, citing what he said were growing divisions between political groups. However, the takeover came less than a month before he handed power over to a civilian.

But the pro-democracy movement in Sudan fears the military intends to loosen its grip and is appointing politicians it can control.

Meanwhile, the UN mission in Sudan is working to facilitate dialogue between military and civilian leaders.

A Sudanese military official said a UN-backed national committee last week began separate meetings with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Burhan to find common ground.

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