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Sudan security forces fire tear gas at protesters near presidential palace

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Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital Khartoum on Saturday as the opponents of military rule marched towards the presidential palace, a Reuters witness said, while internet services in the city were also cut.
It is the 10th day of major demonstrations since an Oct. 25 coup, with protests continuing even after Abdallah Hamdok was reinstated as prime minister on Nov. 21. The demonstrators have demanded that the military have no role in government during a transition to free elections.

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In neighboring Omdurman on Saturday, security forces also fired tear gas at protesters around 2 km away from a bridge connecting the city to central Khartoum, another Reuters witness said.
Internet services were disrupted in the capital, Khartoum, and soldiers blocked roads early in the day, the witnesses said.
Locals were also unable to make or receive calls domestically.
Despite the internet being cut off, people were still able to post on social media, with images showing protests taking place in several other cities including Madani and Atbara.
At the same time, soldiers and Rapid Support Forces were out in force blocking roads leading to bridges linking Khartoum with Omdurman, its sister city across the Nile river, they said.
The SUNA state news agency reported that the province of Khartoum closed bridges on Friday evening in anticipation of the protests.
“Departing from peacefulness, approaching and infringing on sovereign and strategic sites in central Khartoum is a violation of the laws,” SUNA reported, citing a provincial security coordination committee.
“Chaos and abuses will be dealt with,” it added.
Protesters in Khartoum chanted: “Close the street! Close the bridge! Burhan will come straight to you,” referring to military leader and sovereign council head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
They were also heard cheering when security forces fired tear gas, according to a Reuters witness.
A senior official at one internet provider told Reuters the service disruption followed a decision by the National Telecommunication Corporation, which oversees the sector.
UN Special Representative to Sudan Volker Perthes urged Sudanese authorities not to stand in the way of Saturday’s planned demonstrations.
“Freedom of expression is a human right. This includes full access to the Internet. According to international conventions, no one should be arrested for intent to protest peacefully,” Perthes said.
The military could not immediately be reached for comment.
A march planned for Saturday is due to converge on the presidential palace and the demonstration will end at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT), organizers say.
In Darfur, Governor Minni Minnawi asked citizens to stop looting the offices of UNAMID peacekeepers late on Friday, with sources telling Reuters they heard gunshots in the vicinity on Saturday morning.
Last Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people marched to the presidential palace and the security forces fired volleys of tear gas and stun grenades as they dispersed protesters who had been trying to organize a sit-in.
Forty-eight people have been killed in crackdowns on protests since the coup, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said.

Read more: Internet services disrupted in Sudan’s Khartoum ahead of planned protests: Report

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Saudi Arabia’s Khalid bin Salman: We strive to bring Yemen within GCC system

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Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid Bin Salman said on Tuesday that the Kingdom and Gulf countries are striving to bring Yemen within the GCC system so that its people can enjoy security and stability.

“The Kingdom and the Arab Gulf states seek to bring Yemen within the GCC system so that its people can enjoy security, stability and development like other Gulf nations. However, the Houthi militias chose terrorism and destruction and used the people of Yemen as firewood that serves the Iranian regime’s agenda. We assure the people of Yemen that they are from us and we are from them and we will always be on their side,” the Prince said in a tweet.

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He added that Houthi militias employ “false promises and repetitive illusions” to “deceive” Yemenis and “recruit them into a deadly war.”

“The time has come for Yemeni wisdom, and the wise men of Yemen, to forsake those illusions and promises, and to preserve the free people of Yemen from the tampering of terrorist militias,” the Prince said.

Prince Khalid’s statements come a day after the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi was rocked on Monday when drone attacks led to a fire breaking out and resulted in the explosion of three petroleum tankers, killing three people and wounding six others. There was also another fire that broke out in the area of the new construction site of Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Yemen’s Houthi militia claimed responsibility for the attack saying it conducted an operation “deep in the UAE.”

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US worries Russian troop arrival could lead to nuclear weapons in Belarus

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The US is worried that the arrival of Russian troops in Belarus for exercises could become a permanent presence that might lead to nuclear weapons into the country, a senior State Department official told reporters Tuesday.

Russian military forces were moving into Belarus after Moscow-allied strongman Alexander Lukashenko announced Monday that the two countries will conduct military exercises next month.

The move, which came without customary advance notice being provided countries in the region, added to rising tensions with the West over the possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, which borders Belarus.

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The US official, speaking on grounds of anonymity, said the size of the Russian force arriving in Belarus was “beyond what we'd expect of a normal exercise.”

“The timing is notable and, of course, raises concerns that Russia could intend to station troops in Belarus under the guise of joint military exercises in order potentially to attack Ukraine,” the official said.

The official said that changes to the Belarus constitution in a referendum next month could allow the Russian military presence to become permanent.

“These draft constitutional changes may indicate Belarus plans to allow both Russian conventional and nuclear forces to be stationed on its territory,” the official said.

That would represent a “challenge to European security that may require a response,” the official said.

Belarus also borders NATO-member Poland.

“Over time, Lukashenko has relied more and more on Russia for all kinds of support. And we know that he doesn't get that support for free,” the US official said.

“It's clear Russia is preying on Lukashenko's vulnerability and calling in a little bit of accumulated IOUs,” the official said.

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North Korea tested tactical guided missiles in fresh sign of evolving arsenal

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North Korea fired tactical guided missiles on Monday, state media KCNA said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of recent tests that highlighted its evolving missile programs amid stalled denuclearisation talks.

The missile test was the North's fourth in 2022, with two previous launches involving “hypersonic missiles” capable of high speed and manoeuvring after lift-off, and another test on Friday using a pair of SRBMs fired from train cars.

The UN Security Council is likely to meet behind closed-doors on Thursday on the continued missile launches, diplomats said. The US, Britain, France, Ireland and Albania made the request on Tuesday for a Council discussion.

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South Korea's military said on Monday that North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) from an airport in its capital, Pyongyang, which flew about 380 km (236 miles) to a maximum altitude of 42,000 meters (137,800 feet).

The Academy of Defence Science conducted a test of tactical guided missiles from the country's west, and they “precisely hit an island target” off the east coast, the official KCNA news agency said on Tuesday, without elaborating.

“The test-fire was aimed to selectively evaluate tactical guided missiles being produced and deployed and to verify the accuracy of the weapon system,” KCNA said.

It “confirmed the accuracy, security and efficiency of the operation of the weapon system under production.”

The unusually rapid sequence of launches has drawn US condemnation and a push for new UN sanctions while Pyongyang warns of stronger actions, raising the spectre of a return to the period of “fire and fury” threats in 2017.

US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim urged Pyongyang to “cease its unlawful and destabilising activities” and reopen dialogue, saying he was open to meeting “without preconditions,” the State Department said after a call with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts.

South Korea's defence ministry said on Tuesday that it takes all North Korean missile launches as a “direct and serious threat,” but its military is capable of detecting and intercepting them.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric also called the North's tests “increasingly concerning” during a briefing, calling for all parties to return to talks to defuse tension and promote a “very verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”

‘Show of force’

North Korea used Pyongyang's Sunan airport to test-fire the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) in 2017, with leader Kim Jong Un in attendance.

North Korea has not tested its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or nuclear weapons since 2017, as a flurry of diplomacy with Washington unfolded from 2018. But it began testing a range of new SRBM designs after denuclearisation talks stalled and slipped back into a standoff following a failed summit in 2019.

Kim did not attend the latest test.

A photo released by KCNA showed a missile rising into the sky above a cloud of dust, belching flame.

Kim Dong-yup, a former South Korea Navy officer who teaches at Seoul's Kyungnam University, said North Korea appears to have fired KN-24 SRBMs, which were last tested in March 2020 and flew 410 km (255 miles) to a maximum altitude of 50,000 meters (164,042 feet).

The KN-24 resembles the US MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and is designed to evade missile defences and carry out precision strikes, he said.

“The North seems to have already deployed and begun mass production of the KN-24,” Kim said, referring to the KCNA report.

“But essentially, the test could be another show of force to underline their recent warning of action.”

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