AU suspends Sudan over military crackdown

The African Union (AU) has suspended Sudan’s membership days after the military launched a brutal crackdown on protesters that killed dozens of people.

The AU’s Peace and Security Department said in a post on Twitter yesterday that Sudan’s participation in all AU activities would be suspended with immediate effect – “until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority,” which it described as the only way to “exit from the current crisis”.

The announcement followed an emergency meeting by the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after the violent dispersal of a protest camp in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, began on Monday.

At least 108 people have been killed and more than 500 wounded, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD), while a health ministry official was quoted as saying the death toll stood at 61.

Al Jazeera is unable to independently confirm the differing tolls after its journalists were ordered not to report from the country.

Sudan’s pro-democracy leaders have vowed to continue their campaign of civil disobedience until the Transitional Military Council (TMC) – which has ruled Sudan since longtime leader Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a coup in April – is removed and killers of protesters are brought to justice.

The Sudanese Professionals Association yesterday asked people to block main roads and bridges to “paralyse public life” across the country in retaliation for the military crackdown.

In response to the killings, AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat on Monday called for an “immediate and transparent investigation in order to hold all those responsible accountable”.

The AU had earlier warned of suspension if Sudan’s military did not hand over power, but extended the deadline on Saturday after the previous one was ignored.

The AU has met some criticism over its response to the crisis. Political analyst Joseph Ochieno told Al Jazeera before the suspension announcement that the emergency meeting was “coming rather late”.

The CCSD said 40 bodies were pulled from the Nile River on Tuesday and taken to an unknown location by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The TMC has not commented on the allegations.

The raid on Monday marked a pivotal moment in the weeks-long struggle between the powerful TMC and opposition groups over who should lead Sudan’s transition to democracy.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the TMC, said it was ready to resume negotiations with the opposition coalition.

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