Sudan security forces fire shots, tear gas at protesters

Protesters filled the streets of Khartoum to denounce the killing of four schoolchildren on Monday.

    Security forces in Sudan have fired tear gas and ammunition at demonstrators protesting against the killing of five people, including four students, on Monday.

    Protesters filled the streets of the capital Khartoum on Tuesday to denounce the attack, which came after teenagers in the northern city of El-Obeid rallied against fuel and bread shortages.

    Images posted on social media appeared to show security forces attempting to disperse the demonstrations

    Al Jazeera's Hiba Morgan, reporting from Addis Ababa in neighbouring Ethiopia, said there are concerns that the latest protest could turn violent.

    "We've heard from medical sources in the city of Omdurman, which is the twin city of the capital Khartoum, as well as the hospitals that there are multiple injured protesters who came in with gunshot wounds," she said. 

    "There are reports of other injuries due to tear gas canisters as well as due to Rapid Support Forces (RSF) running over protesters in several parts of Khartoum." 

    With a Sudanese flag draped around his neck, high school student Awab Faisal said Tuesday's rallies were aimed at delivering a message to the authorities.

    "We live and study in tough conditions. Often, there is no water and electricity, and prices are only rising," Faisal said.

    "Our future is unclear and such killings make it worse."

    'Serious' security sector reform needed 

    General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the ruling Transitional Military Council, told reporters on Tuesday the killings in the North Kordofan city of El-Obeid were "unacceptable".

    "What happened in El-Obeid is a regrettable and upsetting matter and the killing of peaceful citizens is unacceptable and rejected and a crime that requires immediate and deterrent accountability," he was quoted as saying by the official SUNA news agency. 

    Protesters accuse the RSF, headed by al-Burhan's deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, of shooting dead the five teenagers.

    Sudanese protesters carry a placard during a rally in the capital Khartoum to condemn the
    'Killing a student is killing a nation', say protesters denouncing the killing of four schoolchildren on Monday [Ashraf Shazly/AFP]

    "The repeated use of violence against a civilian population underscores just how important it is for the military council to engage in a serious reform of the security forces," Awol Allo, a lecturer in law at Keele University, told Al Jazeera. 

    "We are talking about a significant period of transition but at the same time there is a significant degree of continuity ... it's very difficult to expect security forces to act differently now."

    On Tuesday, the UN children's agency UNICEF called on Sudanese authorities "to investigate and hold all perpetrators of violence against children accountable".

    "No child should be buried in their school uniform," the agency said, adding the students killed were aged between 15 and 17 years. 

    Most of those demonstrating were school children, but some college students also joined the protests chanting "civilian rule, civilian rule".

    "The killing of children has triggered more anger," said pharmacy student Solafa Mohamed.

    "What they wanted is something basic which every child wants. But when the children expressed their anger, they were shot without any mercy."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies