Sudan transition talks continue

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Paramilitary forces backed by Sudan’s ruling military council fired at protesters in Sennar state, witnesses said, with one man dead of a shot to the head, according to opposition medics.

The killing occurred while the military council and civilian opposition wrangle over final details of a power sharing agreement ahead of elections after veteran autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled in a coup.

“The spirit of the martyr Anwar Hassan Idris was lifted in the city of al-Suki, Sennar state, after he was wounded by a bullet to the head by the Janjaweed militia,” the opposition-linked Sudan Doctors’ Committee said in a statement.

Protesters, rallying against the use of violence by paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to quell demonstrations, were wounded with some in critical condition, it said.

The RSF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The RSF grew out of Arab militias accused of committing atrocities in the western state of Darfur. The RSF commander, deputy head of the military council, denied the allegations.

In Khartoum, military rulers and a coalition of protesters and opposition groups continue to haggle over the draft of a final constitutional declaration to organise a transition period to free elections and civilian rule.

The sides reached broad agreement during a transitional period but were still discussing details, including the powers of a sovereign council of civilians and military officers.

The Transitional Military Council is demanding immunity for its members from prosecution in connection with bloodshed before the accord.

The sides were scheduled to meet on Sunday, but an opposition leader said his side requested a 48-hour delay for consultations, state news agency SUNA reported. A new meeting is now expected on Tuesday.

The rally in al-Suki, south-east of Khartoum, was to protest violence by the RSF, accused of killing at least 128 people in a raid on a protest sit-in in Khartoum on June 3 and in subsequent attacks.

The military council confirmed at least 61 deaths.

Long-stalled talks between the military council and the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change collapsed after the violent dispersal of the sit-in. Direct talks revived after mediation by the African Union and Ethiopia.