Sanctions placed on Sudan’s police over protest crackdown

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Sudan’s Central Reserve Police, accusing it of using excessive force against peaceful protesters demonstrating against last October’s military coup.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement the Central Reserve Police, a division of the wider police force, has been at the forefront of the “violent response” of Sudanese security forces to peaceful protests in Khartoum.

It accused the group of firing live ammunition on protesters in January, adding that one protester was shot dead.

The force, alongside anti-riot police and police, chased protesters trying to flee the scene, arresting and beating some, fatally shooting another protester and injuring others, the department said.

“Since the October 25 military takeover, Sudan’s Central Reserve Police has used excessive force and violence intended to silence civilian activists and protesters,” the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.

“We condemn Sudan’s security services for killing, harassing, and intimidating Sudanese citizens.”

A police spokesman could not be reached for comment. Military leaders have said peaceful protests were allowed and that protest casualties would be investigated.

Sudan has been rocked for months by protests organised by neighborhood-based resistance committees.

The United States, the United Nations and several countries have been critical of security crackdowns which have killed at least 88 people since October.

Billions of dollars in foreign aid were suspended by Western countries and international financing institutions after the coup and military commanders were yet to appoint a prime minister to tackle the economic crisis.

The military said the coup was a necessary corrective measure after political infighting and had pledged to hand over power to a government appointed by consensus or elections. Protesters want an immediate exit of the military from politics. -Reuters

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