The unrest in Sudan has become a full-scale humanitarian crisis littered with alarming reports of violence, rape and disenfranchisement. As protestors and Sudan’s military government met on Tuesday to reach a consensus in the ongoing power struggle, hundreds of men, women and children now face the changing trajectory of their country after months of violence.
The country’s military arm took over in April after protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against the 30-year authoritarian reign of Omar-al-Bashir, who was later ousted. After al-Bashir’s arrest, military leaders vowed to hand the power to civilians, but reneged on their commitment. Since, protesters have used the tools of organizing, calling for a work strike and civil disobedience until their demands were met.
However, within the last week beginning on June 3, military rulers have repeatedly delivered a deafening blow in response to the workers strike. According to NPR, some workers were rounded up by military personnel and threatened by gunpoint to return to work.
In total doctors report that at least 118 people have been killed since the June 3 crackdown, along with at least 70 brutal rapes. According to the World Health Organization, at least 784 people have been wounded during the military strike. The total number stemming from April could be in the thousands, but a specific number remains unknown.
Several witness accounts claim military members have dumped bodies into the Nile, raped and terrorized inhabitants of Khartoum and surrounding areas.
In response to the workers strike which brought the city of Khartoum to a standstill, military leaders responded with cutting mobile data access, a direct link to the internet.
Several celebrities, most notably Rihanna, have spoken out making the unrest a central topic and area of concern. Many feel that media attention waned because of the lack of interest in violence against Black bodies within a majority Muslim nation.
The United Nations has called for the deployment of a monitoring team to investigate the human rights violations, according to The Washington Post. The U.S. State Department has issued a statement
Also in Washington, D.C., the U.S. State Department issued a statement via Twitter condemning violent military-led attacks and urged a peaceful transition to civilian rule.
The Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, a group which represents the protesters’ demand for civilian rule, called on people to return to work late Tuesday, in an effort to quell some of the violence.
Protest leaders and military leaders resumed negotiations after the strike was called off with the intervention of a Ethiopian mediator, appointed by Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, according to The New York Times.
The deal would include, “a three-year transition period, a Cabinet appointed by the protester leaders, and a legislative body with a civilian majority from the FDFC. The ministry said both sides also agreed to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric and de-escalate tensions, and that the military council would to take confidence-building measures including the release of political prisoners,” The Washington Post writes.