Sudan 'on verge of civil war' as soldiers set to march on the capital after 35 protesters massacred in ‘brutal’ crackdown
SUDAN is on the brink of full-blown civil war as thousands of soldiers are set to refuse orders from generals and side with the opposition, activists have claimed.
The warning comes after 35 pro-democracy protesters, including an eight-year-old, were reportedly massacred yesterday in a brutal crackdown ordered by the country's military.
Violence erupted in the country in April after the successful ousting of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's strongman president of 30 years.
Protesters have since staged sit-ins and erected roadblocks in the capital Khartoum, fearing that the country's military intends to use the unrest to seize power.
But opposition spokesmen have now said that large sections of the military are poised to join the protesters after the recent killings of unarmed civilians.
Dr Mudawi Ibrahim, a human rights activist widely tipped for the role of prime minister in any future democratic government, told Sky News on Monday: “The military is going to revolt, especially young officers.
“There is already information that some divisions have decided not to follow orders. This could go in any direction but a civil war is very near.”
The civilian deaths occurred during clearances carried out by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a notoriously brutal militia with roots in the conflict in the western region of Sudan, which began in 2003.
The group is known to have been heavily funded and armed by the deposed president.
TARGETING INNOCENT PEOPLE
Footage from recent days shows unarmed protesters fleeing amid the sound of gunfire as well as men in military uniform moving through barricades erected by protesters in Khartoum.
Sudan is currently being governed by the Transitional Military Council (TMC), lead by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, which has been negotiating with representatives from the protests, who want to establish a civilian-led parliament.
The Council says it wants to hold elections in nine months’ time under "regional and international supervision", and had agreed to a transition to civilian rule over the next three years.
But in a statement released on Monday, unified opposition group Alliance for Freedom and Change accused the military of having orchestrated attacks on civilians and declared an end to negotiations.
The TMC responded with a statement, broadcast on state television, that it had decided to "stop negotiating with the Alliance for Freedom and Change and cancel what had been agreed on".
“The interim military council is not the military, it's now the interim military militia,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
"Now they are spread across the city and they are targeting people, innocent people."
The U.N. Security Council is set to discuss the crackdown in Sudan on Tuesday afternoon in a closed-door session requested by the United Kingdom and Germany.
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