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African cardinal calls for restraint in Sudan’s dealings with protesters

A prominent African cardinal has called for restraint in Sudan, as the ruling junta cracks down on peaceful protesters in the capital city, Khartoum.

Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, said African religious leaders rejected the brutal response to the protests. He said the use of live ammunition, attacks on medical centres and arrests of activists were unacceptable.

“We firmly reject and condemn the response of the transitional government to the peaceful protesters,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said in an African Council of Religious Leaders statement. He co-chairs the group with Uganda’s top Muslim leader, Sheikh Shaban Mubbaje. “We call upon the military apparatus in Sudan to use restraint and halt attacks on medical centres and further allow safe access and passage to all health services.”

Since 3rd June, tensions have escalated in the northeast African country, after security forces violently dispersed hundreds of peaceful protesters in Khartoum. The protesters had camped outside the army headquarters for one week, demanding the departure of the ruling junta.

In the ensuing crackdown, more than 100 people were killed, with 40 bodies being pulled out of the Nile River, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors. Ministry of Health officials have put the number of dead at more than 60.

Picture: A man in Khartoum, Sudan, walks past a barricade on 3rd June 2019. Protesters there demand that the country’s Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians. (CNS photo/Stringer, Reuters).