Four Sudanese school students were among five demonstrators shot dead on Monday during a rally against shortages of bread and fuel, a day before protest leaders and ruling generals are set to hold new talks on the country’s transition.
Authorities announced a night-time curfew in four towns following the deaths in the central town of Al-Obeid, as a key protest group called for nationwide rallies against the “massacre”.
The ruling military council and protest leaders earlier this month inked a power-sharing deal providing for a joint civilian-military administration which in turn would install civilian rule.
That is the main demand of a nationwide protest movement that led to the April ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and has since demanded that the generals who took his place cede power to civilians.
But on the eve of Tuesday’s talks aimed at resolving outstanding issues over the transition, five protesters were killed in Al-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state, said a doctors’ committee linked to the protest movement.
“Five martyrs succumbed to direct wounds from sniper bullets during a peaceful rally in Al-Obeid,” the committee said in a statement.
Prominent protest leader Babikir Faisal told AFP that the dead included “four high school students”.
Al-Obeid residents and a local journalist also confirmed that the dead included high schoolers.
A key protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association, said “live ammunition” had been used against a “rally of school students”.
In a post on its Facebook page, it urged “all citizens and medics” to head to hospitals treating the wounded.
In a separate statement, it called for nationwide protests against the “massacre”, demanding that “the perpetrators be brought to justice”.
Hundreds of protesters later rallied in Khartoum’s two districts of Bahri and Burri, but they were swiftly confronted by riot police who fired teargas, witnesses said.
The office of North Kordofan’s governor announced an overnight curfew in four towns including Al-Obeid, starting Monday and continuing indefinitely.
It added that all schools in the province had been told to suspend classes.