At least 100 people dead as Sudanese military launches new attempt to crush revolution

Sudan protests
Support us and go ad-free

As widespread popular protests continued in Sudan, military forces began a brutal new crackdown on 3 June. The death toll is currently at 100, and is expected to rise.


Sudan has been gripped by mass protests since December 2018. The government had previously implemented a set of austerity measures with the backing of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Rising food prices and the struggle for free elections have sustained popular unrest.

The protests achieved some success in forcing Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir to step aside after nearly three decades in power. The country’s main power structures centring around the military, however, remained. The Sudanese military junta which took power after al-Bashir has promised future elections, but the Sudanese protesters have demanded immediate civilian rule. For weeks, there was a sit-in at the military headquarters to try and pressure the junta.

Trade unions and women have led the protests; 22-year-old student Alaa Salah, for example, has become the face of the ‘revolution’.

Some observers, however, are concerned that the situation could be harnessed and manipulated by external powers – notably the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel – to install a more friendly authoritarian regime.


Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF), also known as the Janjaweed militias, are widely feared in the country. They have a legacy of brutal repression: in 2005, they reportedly attacked and terrorised civilians who had already been victims of violence. As Human Rights Watch writes:

there is irrefutable evidence of a Sudanese government policy of systematic support for, coordination of, and impunity from prosecution granted to the “Janjaweed militias,” a policy that continues to this day.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The Sudanese government relied on these militias to undertake its brutal counterinsurgency operations in Darfur.

The latest repression – reportedly by a force of 10,000 of such militiamen – began in Khartoum on 3 June. 40 bodies have reportedly been “pulled from the [river] Nile in Khartoum”, and 100 people have been confirmed dead. This toll, however, is likely much higher. And as the Guardian reported:

Activists estimate 10 people were killed on Tuesday, five in the White Nile state, three in Omdurman and two in Khartoum’s Bahri neighbourhood. The dead included several children, one aged eight.


Ahmed Kaballo is a Sudanese-British journalist and activist. He spoke to The Canary about what’s going on in Sudan, and news from his family there:

100 killed many of them dumped in the river on the last day of Ramadan. The Sudanese massacre indicates three things: the so-called Transitional Military Council [TMC] are determined to stop Sudan transitioning towards a civilian-led democracy; the TMC couldn’t care less about their public image in Sudan or around the world; and finally, the massacre happened after trips to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, so many within Sudan feel it was sanctioned by one if not all of these regional powers.

The Janjaweed are occupying Sudan. They are terrorising Khartoum and Omdurman the same way they terrorized Darfur. My two cousins were beaten up on Tuesday outside my Great Aunt’s funeral for breaking their fast on Tuesday (which was Eid for many) instead of Wednesday.

They beat up my uncle on the same day who is in his 70s. All the roads are closed, and anyone caught driving is whipped out of the car and beaten by 30-40 cowards from the RSF.

A female protester on the ground, meanwhile, told The Canary on 3 June:

Today is the most heartbreaking thing we have endured since the sit-in started…

Barricades now fill the streets. And we will return to the protests in the streets just like in December.

The UK government has provided some arms to Sudan over the past two decades. According to Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), these sales should cause concern given:

there is no sufficient guarantee in place to ensure that these [dual use] items will not be exploited to facilitate human rights violations.

Featured image via screengrab/France 24 English

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

  • Stop the massacre in Sudan, Sat 8 June, 1 pm, Trafalgar Square, London. Called by the Alliance of Sudanese Political Forces and Sudanese trade unions in Britain.
  • For solidarity details go to


We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us