Jan 16, 2022 19:04 UTC
  •  Sudanese doctors hold rally to protest violent attacks by security forces against medical personnel

Sudanese doctors have held a protest rally to voice their deep dissent against violent crackdown on medical personnel during pro-democracy protests following a much-condemned military coup in October.

The Sunday demonstration was the latest in a series of protest rallies held in crisis-hit Sudan, where security forces press ahead with their attacks on anti-coup protests across the African country.

“During every protest they fire tear gas inside the hospital where I work,” one doctor said at the rally in capital Khartoum.

“They even attack us inside the intensive care unit,” she added at the rally, where medical personnel carried pictures of colleagues they said had been killed.

More than two years ago, massive anti-government demonstrations hit Sudan, mostly over economy. The protesters, youths for a large part, demanded the resignation of then President Omar al-Bashir.

He was ultimately deposed through a military coup in April 2019, after ruling over the country for three decades. In August the same year, a transitional civilian-military administration was founded to run the country.

However, Sudan's military chief and de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan staged a coup on October 25 and dissolved the fragile government.

Abdalla Hamdok, the then-prime minister, was detained and put under house arrest in a move that infuriated the Sudanese and sparked international outcry, including from the UN Security Council. Other civilian leaders were also held in military detention.

Hamdok was later released and on November 21 signed a power sharing deal with the Burhan-led junta, according to which the former would continue his career as prime minister, all political prisoners detained during the coup would be released, and a 2019 constitutional declaration would be the basis for a political transition.

Last week, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) said that there had been 11 confirmed attacks on Sudanese health facilities since November.

It further said that it was “also aware of the interception of ambulances, medical personnel and patients during their attempts to seek safety.”

WHO also called for the attacks to “stop now”, in a time that healthcare services are needed more than ever during the current pandemic of the COVID-19, which is a “grave threat” for Sudan, where 94 percent of the population has not yet been vaccinated.

Official figures have confirmed 93,973 COVID-19 cases and some 4,000 have so far lost their lives. In September, Khartoum said that 64 percent of around 1,000 health workers tested had been found to be COVID-positive.

The African country, home to 45 million people, is also dealing with severe economic crisis and inflation reaching 400 percent.

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