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Sudanese forces ‘clear protesters with gunfire’

ReutersKHARTOUM (Reuters) — At least nine people were wounded on Wednesday when Sudanese forces used live ammunition to clear demonstrators from central Khartoum, a protest group said, and talks on forming a body to lead Sudan to democracy have been suspended for 72 hours.

The violence has cast a shadow on talks that had appeared on course to reach a deal on forming a joint military-civilian body to run the country for a three-year transition period until presidential elections. Both sides traded accusations on who was responsible for the violence.

“We hold the military council responsible for attacking civilians,” said Amjad Farid, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which spearheaded months of protests that led to the military’s removal of President Omar al-Bashir last month.

“They are using the same methods as the previous regime in dealing with rebels,” he told Reuters.

But the head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, accused the demonstrators of breaking an understanding on de-escalation while talks were underway and said protesters were disrupting life in the capital by blocking roads outside a protest zone agreed upon with the military.

In a speech televised speech Thursday, Burhan read out a long list of what he described as violations of understandings reached with protest leaders and said the TMC had decided to suspend talks for 72 hours “until a suitable atmosphere is created to complete an agreement.”

He said the TMC, which took over after overthrowing and jailing Bashir last month, had decided to remove all barricades put up by demonstrators beyond the area where the protesters had been camping since April 6 outside the Defense Ministry.

Early on Wednesday the military announced a committee to investigate the targeting of protesters after at least four people were killed in violence in Khartoum on Monday.

Weeks of street protests that precipitated the end of Bashir’s 30-year rule on April 11 have continued as the opposition demands that the military hand over power to civilians.

A Reuters witness and Sudanese witnesses said troops in military vehicles using the logo of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fired extensively as they tried to clear demonstrators on al-Mek Nimir Avenue in Khartoum, near the Foreign Ministry.Speech

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