Manitoba

'It's like a massacre': Winnipeg's Sudanese community calls for peace after deadly military crackdown

A brutal, deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters in Sudan has left Winnipeg’s Sudanese community anxious and upset.

More than 100 people killed after military suppresses protesters calling for civilian rule

Some members of Winnipeg's Sudanese community gathered on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature Saturday in solidarity with protestors in their home country who are fighting for an end to Sudan's military rule. (Warren Kay/CBC )

A brutal, deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters in Sudan has Winnipeg's Sudanese community calling on Canadians to support their calls for peace.

More than 100 people were killed and hundreds were injured last week after the country's military, which has taken over Sudan's government after ousting president Omar al-Bashir in April, opened fire on a sit-in of thousands outside the defence force base who had been calling on them to hand over power to a civilian government.

Members of the expat community in Winnipeg held a demonstration Saturday to call attention to the bloodshed.

"Honestly it's like a massacre all over again," said Alkhatim Doleeb, 12. "It's horrible. Very horrible. I feel like people don't take it as seriously as it should be taken."

Alkhatim Doleeb, 12, says the world needs to be paying more attention to what's happening in Sudan. (Warren Kay/CBC )

"It's very sad, and the world is silent about it."

On Wednesday, Sudanese security forces were seen pulling 40 bodies of victims, slain during the massacre, from the Nile River in Khartoum and taking them away.

The Sudan Doctors Committee, one of the protest groups, said it was not known where they were taken. The committee also said more than 500 were wounded by military violence last week.

Sudanese protesters walk past a burning tyre as Sudan's military forces tried to disperse the sit-in outside Khartoum's army headquarters on June 3, 2019. - At least two people were killed Monday as Sudan's military council tried to break up a sit-in outside Khartoum's army headquarters, a doctors' committee said as gunfire was heard from the protest site. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

The violent crackdown followed weeks of negotiations between the military and protest leaders. The protesters wanted civilians to dominate the council, which the generals resisted.

The country has been marred by conflict for decades. In the Darfur conflict, rebels among the territory's ethnic Central African community launched an insurgency in 2003, complaining of discrimination and oppression by the Arab-dominated Khartoum government.

The government responded with a scorched-earth assault of aerial bombings and unleashed the Janjaweed. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes.

Now, protest leaders in the country say there were more attacks in 13 cities and towns that were perpetrated by security forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force, a paramilitary group that grew out of Janjaweed militias. 

Demonstrators in Winnipeg said they want to mobilize support from the international community for those trying to bring peace to Sudan. 

Demonstrators say they want the international community to pay attention to what's happening in Sudan. (Warren Kay/CBC )

"We need more support from the Canadian people, Canadian government to express ourselves. That is what we need," said Mohammad Abdulhamid.

Global Affairs Canada issued a statement on Thursday, writing, "We are appalled that the Sudanese Transitional Military Council and Rapid Support Forces violently attacked protestors in front of the Sudanese Armed Forces headquarters on June 3, and by the continued use of indiscriminate violence to intimidate the civilian population. This violence, including sexual violence, is unacceptable and a blatant attack on the basic rights of the Sudanese people, who have been bravely calling for change following decades of oppression from their government."

The African Union suspended Sudan from union activities on Thursday, backing the demand for civilian rule.

Global Affairs Canada stated it supports the African Union's suspension of Sudan from union activities until a civilian led government is established.

"Canada is prepared to do whatever it can to support a civilian-led transition to a democratically elected government in Sudan."

Canada's federal government said it supports their position.

Winnipeg's Sudanese community calls for peace after deadly military crackdown

3 years ago
Duration 2:26
A brutal, deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters in Sudan has Winnipeg's Sudanese community calling on Canadians to support their calls for peace.

With files from Erin Brohman and The Associated Press

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