Sudan’s army ruler said Wednesday he was open to negotiations even as gunfire crackled across the capital after a crackdown that doctors close to protesters said left at least 60 people dead.
Despite mounting international concern at what demonstrators called a “bloody massacre”, a bid at the UN Security Council to condemn the killings was blocked by China with support from Russia.
Hospitals in Khartoum said they were struggling to cope with the number of wounded after security forces launched a deadly raid on Monday on a weeks-long sit-in outside army headquarters.
“The situation is very difficult. Most of the hospitals have taken in more casualties than they have capacity for,” a doctor who works at two hospitals in the city told AFP.
“There’s a shortage of medical staff, a shortage of blood, and it’s difficult to do surgery because some operations can only be done in certain hospitals,” said the doctor, who asked not to be named.
“Among the wounded there are still people in a serious condition and I expect the number of deaths to rise.
There was a heavy security presence as worshippers in some neighbourhoods came out to mark the Eid al-Fitr festival following a call by protest leaders to “pray for the martyrs”.
In Omdurman, just across the Nile from Khartoum, security forces were seen patrolling in trucks mounted with what appeared to be anti-aircraft and machine guns and other weapons including rocket-propelled grenades.
Sudan’s military ousted veteran president Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his authoritarian rule and had agreed a three-year transition period to a civilian administration.
But army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said following the crackdown that the agreement had been ditched and an election would take place within nine months — a plan rejected by demonstrators.