The AU has been urged to take action after attacks on Khartoum protesters by the military as talks on a new transitional authority stall. Picture: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

Johannesburg – Seventeen African and Sudanese civil society organisations have sent a joint letter of appeal to the African Union urging urgent action be taken following the attacks on peaceful protesters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum by the military as talks on a new transitional authority stall.

“The protestors are in need of immediate protection and the AU needs to take swift and firm action,” said Thursday’s letter to representatives of the AU Peace and Security Council Member States and Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki.

“We are extremely concerned that the (recent) breakthrough is now in jeopardy following the announcement to put the talks on hold and that further delays will only allow for more attacks and a massacre may be witnessed,” said the civil society organisations. 

The letter outlined how on Wednesday an identified militia fired live ammunition on the protesters in an attempt to clear roadblocks and disperse them as they continued their sit-in outside military headquarters in the capital.

The military blamed “infiltrators”, an assertion rejected by the protesters. 

The shooting followed an earlier incident on Monday in which five protesters and one military official were killed and more than 100 people injured in another attack on the demonstrators.

The two attacks in Khartoum occurred just hours after announcements about significant breakthroughs in the negotiations between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Freedom and Change Forces (FCF).

Protestors are demanding the military hand over power to a civilian authority. The ongoing talks have now been put on hold for at least 72 hours by the Chair of the TMC.

In their letter the civil society organisations urged the AU to condemn the use of force by the military and urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the violence and that the perpetrators of this be held accountable.

The letter further called for the suspension of negotiations to be condemned and pressure to be exerted on the military council to transfer power.

African News Agency (ANA)