July 14, 2019 / 2:45 PM / 7 months ago

Sudanese man shot dead during protest as sides wrangle over transition

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Paramilitary forces backed by Sudan’s ruling military council fired at protesters in the southeastern state of Sennar on Sunday, witnesses said, and one man died of a shot to the head, according to opposition medics.

Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces are yet to respond to a Reuters request for comment on Idris' death. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

The killing occurred with the military council and civilian opposition wrangling over final details of a power-sharing agreement ahead of elections after veteran autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled in a coup following weeks of mass protests.

“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 Sudan Doctors’ Committee said in a statement.

A number of protesters, who were rallying against the RSF’s use of violence against some street demonstrations, were wounded in the incident and some were in critical condition, it said.

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces grew out of Arab militias accused of committing atrocities in the western state of Darfur. The RSF commander, who is also deputy head of the military council, has denied the allegations.

The RSF did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Idris’ death.

In the capital Khartoum, negotiators are haggling over the draft of a final constitutional declaration that is to organise a transition period to free elections and civilian rule.

The rally in al-Suki, 340 km (201 miles) southeast of Khartoum, was held to protest at violence by the RSF, which is accused of killing at least 128 people in a raid on a protest sit-in in Khartoum on June 3 and in a few subsequent attacks.

The military council has 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. But direct talks revived after mediation efforts by the African Union and Ethiopia.

Reporting by Nadine Awadalla in Khartoum and Khalid Abdelaziz in Cairo; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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