Sudan suspends schools after student killings

Lessons in all Sudanese schools have been suspended indefinitely amid mass demonstrations over the shooting dead of schoolchildren at a rally.

The ruling military authorities ordered schools nationwide to close their doors from Wednesday, the state news agency said.

Protesting students gathered in cities including the capital Khartoum following the killings on Monday.

Five people died in North Kordofan state, four of them students.

Dozens more were injured after snipers and other gunmen opened fire on a protest in El-Obeid over fuel and bread shortages.

Hundreds of children, many dressed in their school uniforms and waving Sudanese flags, took to the streets of Khartoum on Tuesday to protest about the killings in El-Obeid.

Demonstrations by schoolchildren were also held in other parts of the capital and in other cities.

Late on Tuesday, the authorities responded by ordering the closures of schools covering all age groups.

“Orders have been given to governors of all states to shut kindergartens, primary and high schools from Wednesday until further notice,” the official Suna news agency reported.

Videos emerging from El-Obeid in North Kordofan show students in uniform chanting, but their cries for better living conditions are drowned out by heavy gunfire.

Images from a hospital show bloodied victims.

According to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, an organisation linked to the pro-democracy protesters, at least 62 people were wounded in El-Obeid alongside the five who died.

Demonstrators accused paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of carrying out the shootings there.

The authorities have since declared a state of emergency in the area and a night-time curfew.

The United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, has called on the authorities to investigate the killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“No child should be buried in their school uniform,” it said in a statement that added that the students who died in El-Obeid were aged between 15 and 17.

The chairman of Sudan’s military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has condemned the killings.

“What happened in El-Obeid is sad. Killing peaceful civilians is an unacceptable crime that needs immediate accountability,” he was quoted by state television as saying.

The killings in El-Obeid came a day before protest leaders were due to hold talks with Sudan’s ruling generals, after the two sides signed a power-sharing deal earlier this month.

Protest leaders called off Tuesday’s meeting after the shootings. –BBC

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