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Protesters urge Uhuru, regional leaders to intervene in Sudan crisis

With Somalia and South Sudan in chaos, the activists said Africa should not wait to see another humanitarian crisis resulting from violence/CFM – JOSEPH MURAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 19 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and his counterparts in the continent have been urged to pile pressure on Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to hand over power to civilian leadership.

Human Rights defenders drawn from various Organizations in Kenya on Wednesday cautioned leaders in the region against allowing the crisis in Sudan to escalate further.

With Somalia and South Sudan in chaos, the activists said Africa should not wait to see another humanitarian crisis resulting from violence.

“We are extremely concerned about the silence by African leaders because what is happening in Sudan has a huge direct implication for the region. If Sudan unhinges the way it is threatening to, there will be a huge refugee crisis that affects the entire region,” Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Executive Director George Kegoro told Capital FM News.

He spoke before an aborted protest at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner where police lobbed teargas and dispersed protesters who had gathered for a solidarity march following the killing of over 100 protesters by security forces in Khartoum

READ: Activists protesting rights violations in Sudan tear-gassed in Nairobi

He said Kenya and Uganda would bear the weight of an unstable Sudan since they are already hosting millions of refugees from politically troubled countries within the region.

“South Sudan already has problems and the fact that Sudan was stable it enabled some level of stability in South Sudan. Now if we have South Sudan unstable, and Sudan becomes unstable, we are going to have a movement of people who feel insecure coming down to the borders of Kenya and Uganda,” he cautioned.

Sentiments were shared by human rights defender Tom Oketch, who said President Kenyatta should use his influence to lobby for help among his counterparts.

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“We cannot allow President Kenyatta to keep quiet about the situation in Sudan,” he said.

Sudanese nationals who had joined in the protest also appealed to world leaders to join in calling for a civilian rule.

“Our people have been killed, but we shall not stop agitating for our rights. We shall continue with the struggle for peace, justice, and human rights in Sudan,” Mohammed Elnaiem, 26, told Capital FM News.

Aida Abbashar, an American Sudanese, 21, who is also living in Kenya was equally concerned about the situation back home.

“The youths are driving the revolution, and this is the energy we have to keep up,” she said.

READ: Pro-democracy protesters hopeful of stability in Sudan

The activists were protesting the recent killing of at least 100 civilians by the Sudanese security forces early this month when the military cracked down on a sit-in by pro-democracy protesters, outside army headquarters in the Capital Khartoum.

Protesters in Sudan have been agitating for an expeditious takeover of a civilian rule from the country’s Transitional Military Council established following the removal from power of President Omar al-Bashir on April 11, after an autocratic rule that lasted for three decades.

On Tuesday, Sudan’s protest leaders called for nighttime demonstrations in the capital Khartoum.

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They blamed the Rapid Support Forces – a paramilitary group – for the continued atrocities.

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