KHARTOUM – The United States government has placed tough sanctions on Sudan’s Central Reserve Police (CRP) force for human rights abuses.
The Treasury Department accused the top security chiefs in the CRP of being “at the forefront” of the crackdown on protests against military rule in the northeast African nation.
“Since the October 25 military takeover, Sudan’s Central Reserve Police has used excessive force and violence intended to silence civilian activists and protesters,” Treasury undersecretary Brian Nelson said in a statement.
“We condemn Sudan’s security services for killing, harassing, and intimidating Sudanese citizens,” Nelson said. “These actions are exacerbating the crisis in Sudan.”
Under the sanctions, any CRP assets in the United States will be frozen.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a separate statement called for an immediate end to violence against peaceful protesters.
“We remain poised to use all tools at our disposal to support the Sudanese people in their pursuit of a democratic, human rights-respecting, and prosperous Sudan,” Blinken said.
According to Charlie Loudon, an international legal adviser at the rights group REDRESS “Today’s sanctions send an important message that those responsible for the killing and injuring of peaceful protesters in Sudan will be held to account.”
Regular protests calling for the civilian rule have taken place since a military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25, with heavy-handed crackdowns leaving 87 dead, according to medics.
The October coup derailed a fragile power-sharing agreement between the army and civilians that had been painstakingly negotiated after the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Western countries and international financing institutions suspended billions of dollars in foreign aid after the coup and military commanders have yet to appoint a prime minister to tackle the economic crisis.
The Central Reserve Police, was used during the early 2000s Darfur war, during which the Khartoum government put down a rebellion in the western region. An estimated 300,000 people were killed in the war, and then-President Omar al-Bashir and aides face war crimes charges from the International Criminal Court.
The force, known locally as “Abu Tayra”, referring to the bird that forms a part of their recognisable logo, have been deployed frequently, along with other security forces, in recent months following the coup.