Death of another Nansana shooting victim brings toll to 3
Sudan generals must transfer power to regain trust, says UK envoy
Sudan's ruling generals must swiftly hand power to civilians if they are to regain the trust they lost after a deadly crackdown on protesters this month, Britain's envoy to Khartoum has said.
Crowds of protesters who had camped for weeks outside the capital's army headquarters to demand civilian rule were violently dispersed on June 3 by armed men in military fatigues.
The gunmen shot and beat protesters at the crack of dawn in an operation that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, according to doctors and witnesses.
The killings sparked a wave of international condemnation, and the ruling military council has distanced itself from the events.
But Irfan Siddiq, Britain’s ambassador to Khartoum and a leading advocate of civilian rule in Sudan, said the military council was ultimately responsible.
"At the end of the day, it is the security forces who conducted these raids and led to the killings of the people," Siddiq told AFP in an interview at his official residence in Khartoum.
"Therefore, the military council bears responsibility for taking the steps to build and rebuild the trust and confidence that would enable the civilian transition to occur."
At least 128 people have been killed since the crackdown, the majority on the day the sit-in was cleared.
That is according to doctors linked to the protest movement that led to the ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and his replacement by the military council in April.
The health ministry has put the nationwide death toll on June 3 at 61.
Military council 'responsible'
The military council has expressed "regret" over what happened but insists it had only ordered the clearing of an area near the protest camp where drug dealers had reportedly operated.
The initial findings of a military investigation showed that "officers and soldiers of different ranks and regular forces" had entered the sit-in itself without orders from their superiors, the investigating committee said.
Siddiq, a fluent Arabic speaker who began his Khartoum posting in April 2018, said the international community was waiting for the committee's report.
"But until that happens... the military council is responsible for security and therefore it's responsible for what happened," he said.
"Therefore, I think we need to see measures from the military council that build trust, build confidence" among the Sudanese public and the international community, he added.
Minutes after the assault began, Siddiq, whose residence is near the army headquarters, had heard gunshots and raised the alarm on social media.
"No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now," he tweeted as the operation was in progress.
He said he had heard the attack taking place at 5 AM on June 3.
"I could hear the shooting and it seemed to me that it was pretty clear to me what was happening, which is why I made my statement," he said.
"Unfortunately, the killing happened and a lot of people lost their lives and there has been trust that has been lost."
As from: Daily Monitor
How DR Congo entry into EAC will change the bloc
Kigali. The Democratic Republic of Congo has applied to join the East African Community in a move that could potentially expand the boundaries of the trading bloc to the Atlantic coast of Africa.
The application comes following months of talks between DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwanda President Paul Kagame, who chairs the East African Community.
Sources familiar with the diplomatic talks that preceded the formal application say most EAC member states are enthusiastic about DR Congo’s membership.
The DRC officially communicated its intention to join the EAC in a letter to President Kagame dated June 8. Kinshasa said its desire to join the bloc was informed by its increasing trade ties with the region.
In response, President Kagame directed the EAC Secretariat to table DR Congo’s application for discussion at the next Heads of State Summit in November. If it meets the admission requirements, members will vote on its admission.
The potential membership of the Central African country is being viewed as a game-changer, given its natural resources wealth and a huge consumer market of 81 million people.
It is the world’s biggest producer of cobalt, a major component in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles, and Africa’s main copper producer. It also a major producer of gold, diamonds, uranium, coltan, oil and other precious metals, making it one of the most resource-rich countries in the world.
DR Congo is also host to the world’s second-longest river, the Congo, vast swathes of fertile soil, potentially making it one of the biggest agricultural producers in the world.
DR Congo’s membership in the EAC, if fast-tracked and fully integrated through key infrastructure, also portends a timely pillar not only for the region but also for the bigger Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
“DR Congo’s membership offers the potential of opening a vast trading and communication corridor right across the middle of Africa from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean,” said Jeremiah Owiti, a Nairobi-based policy analyst.
President Tshisekedi has, since his inauguration in January, shown keen interest in the EAC, and has officially visited five member states — Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. He even attempted to mediate between Rwanda and Uganda.
Ms Patience Mutesi, the Rwanda country director for TradeMark East Africa, welcomed DR Congo’s application, saying a larger EAC market means more opportunities for traders and consumers.
DR Congo offers a market almost half the size of the entire EAC, and will also seek to export to the region.
Data from the Uganda Trade Ministry shows the country exported $398 million’s worth of goods to DR Congo in 2018, and plans to increase that to $2 billion by 2020.Soruce: Daily Monitor
US demands 'independent, credible' probe into Sudan crackdown
A US envoy for Africa on Friday called for an "independent and credible" investigation into last week's crackdown on protesters in Sudan that left dozens of dead.
"The USA believe very strongly there has to be an investigation which is independent and credible which will hold accountable those committing the egregious events," Tibor Nagy, the assistant secretary of state for Africa, said in Addis Ababa after a two-day visit to Khartoum.
Thousands of protesters who had camped outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum for weeks were dispersed on June 3.
According to doctors linked to the protest movement, 120 people died and hundreds were wounded, while Sudan's health ministry put the death toll at 61.
Nagy said the crackdown marked a brutal reversal in a situation where hope had flowered.
"The events of June 3rd constituted, in our point of view, a 180-degree turn in the way events were going, with murder, rape, by members of the security forces," he said in a conference call with journalists.
"Until June 3rd, everybody was so optimistic. Events were moving forward in such a favourable direction after 35 years of tragedy for Sudan".
Nagy -- the US ambassador to Ethiopia between 1992 and 2002 -- pointed to fears in the region about potential chaos in Sudan.
"The last thing Egypt wants is another Libya on its southern border. The last thing Ethiopia wants is another Somalia on its northwestern border," he said.
Sudanese opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi earlier Friday called for an "objective" international investigation.
Mahdi's elected government was toppled in 1989, in an Islamist-backed coup led by Omar al-Bashir.
After three decades in power, Bashir was himself ousted in April following mass protests, backed by Mahdi.
Bashir was replaced by a military council, but protesters carried on with a sit-in outside Khartoum military headquarters to demand a transition to civilian rule.
Nagy said the US backed mediation efforts by the African Union and an eight-country regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is currently chaired by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
"The USA seek a civilian-led government at the end of this transition which is acceptable to the Sudanese people," he said.
On Thursday, a spokesman for the military council expressed "regret" over the events of June 3, saying the plan had been to clear an area close to the sit-in but "excesses happened".
The council rejected an international investigation, saying it was carrying out its own probe, whose findings would be released on Saturday.
Separately, the head of the military council, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, who met Nagy in Khartoum, made a one-day visit to Eritrea, the Eritrean ministry of information said on its website.
He met President Isaias Afwerki, who "underlined the need for all Sudanese political forces and population to participate in the perceptive transition phase the country is facing," the ministry said.