Sudan’s ruling military council on Thursday for the first time admitted it ordered the dispersal of Khartoum sit-in, which left scores dead, as US and African diplomats stepped up efforts for a solution to the country’s political crisis.
Protesters had staged the weeks-long sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum forcing long-time leader Omar al-Bashir from power in April.
But the pro-democracy protesters have continued their agitation demanding the military council, which took over from al-Bashir, hand power to a civilian-led transitional body.
On June 3, days after talks between protest leaders and the military collapsed, armed men in military fatigues broke up the camp in an operation that doctors said left 120 people dead. Doctors said that at least 40 bodies were recovered from the Nile river.
The health ministry has put the death toll for that day at 61 nationwide.
The military council had “decided to disperse the sit-in”, said spokesman Shamseddine Kabbashi.
“We ordered the commanders to come up with a plan to disperse this sit-in. They made a plan and implemented it … but we regret that some mistakes happened.”
Later at the end of the conference Kabbashi said that the plan was to clear a nearby area called Colombia, usually inhabited by drug peddlers, but then “we regret what happened”.
He said the findings of an investigation into the incident would be released on Saturday.