The Khartoum massacre occurred on 3 June 2019, when the armed forces of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, headed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the immediate successor organisation to the Janjaweed militia, used heavy gunfire and teargas to disperse a sit-in by protestors in Khartoum, killing more than 100 people,with difficulties in estimating the actual numbers.At least forty of the bodies had been thrown in the River Nile. Hundreds of unarmed civilians were injured, hundreds of unarmed citizens were arrested, many families were terrorised in their home estates across Sudan,and the RSF raped more than 70 women and men. The Internet was almost completely blocked in Sudan in the days following the massacre, making it difficult to estimate the number of victims.
In October 2019, during the 39-month planned transition to democracy, an official Khartoum massacre investigation commission was created as required . of the Sudanese August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration, under the authority of transition period Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.The commission is led by human rights lawyer Nabil Adib and with no female members, which the No to Oppression against Women Initiative.
Sudanese protests started in December 2018 after which the military removed Omar al-Bashir and established a Transitional Military Council which is headed by the Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan.
On 11 April 2019, the military removed al-Bashir from power in a coup d’état and created a Transitional Military Council (TMC). Following intense protests, Awad Ibn Auf announced his resignation and said that he had chosen Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan to lead the TMC.Protesters supported by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA)and democratic opposition groups engaged in street demonstrations, calling on the ruling Transitional Military Council to “immediately and unconditionally” step aside in favour of a civilian-led transitional government, and urging other reforms in Sudan. For about two months the TMC engaged the SPA in dialogue and discussion on how to shift to a transitional government, disagreeing over whether the transitional government should be civilian-led or military-led.There were many attempts to disperse protesters and clear the sit-in in front of the Military HQ in Khartoum.
On 30 May, the SPA expressed concern that a lethal attack by the TMC was intended, stating that on 29 May, “two citizens including a pregnant lady were shot dead by the TMC forces.” The SPA warned that military trucks of NISS, the RSF and other state security forces were accumulating around the area of the sit-in. On 1 June, the SPA said that it had reason to believe that the TMC was “planning and working to end the peaceful sit-in at the headquarters with excessive force and violence” after three people were killed in incidents on the fringes of the demonstration during the previous week.
On 3 June 2019 the military armed forces of the TMC headed by the Rapid Support Forces, the immediate successor organisation to the Janjaweed militia and NISS, together with other TMC forces used heavy gunfire and teargas as well as sound bombs aiming at dispersing the sit-in killing more than 100 people with difficulties in estimating the actual numbers.
Estimating the numbers of victims was difficult in the days following the massacre because of Internet blockage and the presence of security forces. The Internet in Sudan was almost completely blocked during and following the massacre, Janjaweed militias had wide presence throughout Khartoum and prevented documenting the number of victims.
As of the evening of 4 June 2019, there were reports of a large number of victims in the field of the sit-in with difficulty evacuating them. There were several reports of bodies thrown into the Nile. Hundreds of unarmed civilians were injured, hundreds of unarmed citizens were arrested and many families were terrorised in their home estates across Sudan. Seventy women and men were raped by the RSF according to doctors in Khartoum hospitals.
On 9 June, witnesses reported the smell of rotten corpses coming from drainage channels and suspected that soldiers had thrown victims there.
In total, more than 200 military vehicles were used in the attack, with more than 10,000 soldiers and other unidentified personnel in police uniforms.
The following is a timeline of what took place in the Khartoum sit-in camp:
4:30 am: Janjaweed militias and NISS with other TMC forces started surveying the area of the sit-in camp in preparation for the attack.
4:55 am: Around 100 military vehicles belonging to Janjaweed militias, armed with heavy military firearms, including anti-aircraft weapons and carrying hundreds of armed soldiers. These soldiers were carrying weapons and sticks when they surrounded the Military HQ in Khartoum. The cars prevented the unarmed civilians from entering the Military HQ. Simultaneously, another 100 white pick-up trucks without number plates, full of soldiers in police uniforms, arrived. Other Janjaweed soldiers were also seen in huge numbers along Nile Street.
6:00 am – onward: The joint forces started the attack on the sit-in camp using live bullets, sound bombs and teargas, storming the civilians from all directions, leaving a narrow path for protesters to exit. The militia started burning the tents and shooting indiscriminately, leaving hundreds dead and injured and throwing many bodies into the Nile.
According to local resident and PhD student Mohammed Elnaiem, the first phase of the attack included discussion between RSF members and the regular army, and in the second phase, the army vehicles departed while RSF vehicles “drove through the barricades.Following the massacre, some bodies were recovered that wore uniforms belonging to the Sudanese Army. Activists concluded that there had been army soldiers who refused to attack the protestors or had attempted to protect them, whereupon they too had been murdered. Nahid Jabrallah attributed the murders to the RSF. After the main attack, the RSF shot wounded protestors in three Khartoum hospitals.
Sit-ins in Port Sudan, el-Gadarif and Sinja were also “raided and attacked by the RSF” on 3 June.
Osman Gasm Alsaed