United States tries to broker Sudan peace deal after violent crackdown on protests

The military council defended the actions of the RSF

The military council defended the actions of the RSF

The military council has confirmed 61 deaths, including three members of the security services.

Protesters later gathered outside army headquarters in Khartoum to demand the military council hand power to civilians, but were dispersed early last week in a bloody crackdown that killed more than 100 people.

Opposition sources have said that an aide of Abiy had been shuttling between the two sides trying to broker a deal after his one-day visit to Khartoum.

The military today also deported three members of a rebel movement detained last week in the wake of the deadly raid on the sit-in, the movement said on Monday. In December an economic crisis underscored by rising bread prices resulted in rolling mass protests, demanding al-Bashir step down.

A protest strike kept businesses shut and residents indoors in the Sudanese capital Tuesday as a top USA diplomat prepared a visit to press the ruling generals to halt a bloody crackdown.

In response, the opposition called a general strike that began on Sunday, the first day of the workweek in Sudan, to keep up pressure on the military, which had cancelled a power transfer agreement that called elections within nine months following the dismissal in April of the civilian regime of Omar al-Bashir.

Stability in Sudan is crucial for a volatile region struggling with conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.

The two others, SPLM-N secretary-general Ismail Jallab and spokesman Mubarak Ardol, were arrested after meeting the visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister as he tried to mediate between the military council and civilian opposition.

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In a statement published by state-run news agency Suna, the council said "preliminary evidence" had been found "against a number of elements of the regular forces who were then put in military custody, prior to referring them to the judicial authorities in an urgent manner".

Even more disturbing have been harrowing accounts emerging of men and women being raped by the paramilitary group, known as the Rapid Support Forces or RSF.

"This shows clearly what we can do, and also in a peaceful way", said protester Ishraga Mohamed.

"That is not in keeping with our existing agreement with the Sudanese government and our insistence that the facilities be used exclusively for civilian purposes", she said.

The RSF has been blamed by witnesses for the killings last week during the clearing of the weeks-long sit-in.

Arman's SPLM-North is the political wing of a rebel movement that has fought against Sudanese security forces in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states for much of the last decade.

They called on Sudanese to resume their work on Wednesday.

Several shops, fuel stations and some branches of private banks were open in Khartoum, and some public buses were running but most parts of the capital remained closed.

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