US sanctions Sudanese police unit for using violent tactics

CAIRO ( Associated Press) — The US on Monday sanctioned a Sudanese police unit for using violent tactics against pro-democracy protesters following an October military coup.

The Treasury Department said Sudan’s Central Reserve Police, which it described as a militarized unit of the country’s police forces, used excessive force and was at the forefront of a deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters in the capital of Khartoum. It cited two documented cases of police shooting protesters.

The sanctions include blocking all property or interests in property of the police unit “that are in or come within the United States, or that are in the possession or control of US persons,” according to the Treasury Department.

Sudan has been in turmoil since the military removed a civilian-led transitional government from power. The coup upended Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after three decades of international isolation under former President Omar al-Bashir, who was removed from power in 2019 after a popular uprising.

The takeover triggered near-daily street protests. Security forces launched a deadly crackdown that included firing live ammunition and tear gas at crowds on the streets and knocking the country’s internet and mobile signal offline — all in efforts to keep people from gathering. At least 83 people have been killed and over 2,600 injured in the violence, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which tracks protester casualties.

“We condemn Sudan’s security services for killing, harassing, and intimidating Sudanese citizens. These actions are exacerbating the crisis in Sudan,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

In recent days, protests have again gathered steam as many people experience rapidly deteriorating economic conditions. Attempts by the UN’s mission to the country to bring both sides together have stalled.

Sudan’s pro-democracy protesters call for the establishment of a fully civilian government to complete the now-stalled democratic transition. The generals however insist they will hand over power only to an elected government. They say elections will take place next year.