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85 killed in Khartoum sit-in in June (Human Rights Commission)

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Sudan’s human rights commission said on Tuesday that police records showed 85 people were killed in a security operation targeting protesters in June, a toll less than that announced by the leaders of the protest movement.

On 3 June, armed men in uniforms attacked a weeks-long sit-in outside the headquarters of the armed forces in Khartoum, shooting and beating protesters in an operation that shocked international observers.

The Freedom and Change Alliance, which led the protests, said at least 127 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the security operation, which lasted several days.

But the National Human Rights Commission, a government body, said police records showed 85 people were killed in the operation.

“According to police records, between June 3 and June 12, 85 people were killed and 239 injured,” UNHCR chief Hurriya Ismail told reporters in Khartoum.

The forces that dispersed the sit-in were wearing police uniforms and paramilitary “rapid support forces”.

“These forces used excessive force and did not give warning to those inside the sit-in area, which was a peaceful and legal gathering,” it said.

“What has happened is a serious violation of the right to life and those who have carried out criminal offenses,” she said.

The president’s comments came two days after Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdouk formed an independent commission of inquiry consisting of seven people, in response to the demands of the Freedom and Change Alliance, which led the protests.

The committee set up by the military junta that sacked Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had concluded that members of the Rapid Support Forces were involved in the bloody sit-in.

The junta stressed at the time that it did not order the break-up of the sit-in, but ordered an operation involving the Rapid Support Forces to clear the area close to the criminals.

In July, the Attorney General, who headed that commission of inquiry, revealed that a brigade of the Rapid Support Forces had ordered a colonel to break up the sit-in, although he had not received orders from the highest authorities.

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