Sudan suspends schools after student killings

Sudanese students protest against the killing of five people in al-Obeid a day earlier, in Khartoum, Sudan, 30 July 2019Image copyright EPA

Sudan’s authorities have ordered all schools nationwide to suspend classes indefinitely amid mass student demonstrations over the shooting dead of five people at a rally.

A military council directive says their doors should remain closed from Wednesday, the state news agency said.

Protesters gathered in cities including the capital Khartoum following the killing of the protesters on Monday.

Four of those who died in North Kordofan state were school students.

Dozens more were injured after snipers opened fire on a protest in al-Obeid over fuel and bread shortages.

Demonstrators accused paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of carrying out the shootings.

Late on Tuesday, the authorities ordered the school closures.

“Orders have been given to governors of all states to shut kindergartens, primary and high schools from tomorrow (Wednesday) until further notice,” the official Suna news agency reported.

The killings in al-Obeid came a day before protest leaders were due to hold talks with Sudan’s ruling generals on further areas of installing civilian rule, after the two sides signed a power-sharing deal earlier this month.

Protest leaders called off Tuesday’s meeting after the shootings.

The chairman of Sudan’s military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has condemned the killings.

“What happened in al-Obeid is sad. Killing peaceful civilians is an unacceptable crime that needs immediate accountability,” he was quoted by state television as saying.

AFP news agency reports that crowds of students rallied in Khartoum, waving flags and chanting: “The people want to fight for the rights of martyrs.”

The United Nations children’s agency, Unicef, has called on the authorities to investigate the killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“No child should be buried in their school uniform,” it said in a statement that added that the students who died in al-Obeid were aged between 15 and 17.

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