21 January 2019

Sudan: Health Ministry Statement On Doctor Killed Outside His Home

Photo: Sudan Tribune
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir

Omdurman — The Forensic Medicine Specialist of the federal Health Ministry, Mahjoub Babikir, said in a statement yesterday that Dr Babikir Abdelhamid was fatally injured by a shotgun from the back, not from the front.

Dr Babikir Abdelhamid was reported killed by the Sudanese security forces who broke into a house where he was treating wounded protesters on Thursday. Another doctor, 60-year-old Muawia Khalil, died from his wounds on Friday after the security forces shot him on Thursday in his home.

The director of the morgue at Royal Care Hospital in Omdurman, Dr Tarig Asakir, explained at a press conference held yesterday that he undertook an autopsy of the body of Mahjoub Babikir with the participation of a number of doctors. He said they found that the gunshot entered the back of the body, from within a distance of four to ten metres. The weapon used has not yet been identified, however, Asakir denied that the wounds were caused by a shot from a close range.

Wavering accounts of events

Speaking publicly at a press conference in El Kireida area in the White Nile state, President Al Bashir mentioned the events in Omdurman, saying: "The doctor who was killed, was killed during the demonstrations, with a weapon that is not in the hands of the police or the Sudanese army."

A police spokesman on Friday denied the use of live bullets by policemen to break up the demonstrations in Omdurman on Thursday. He failed to elaborate on the presence of security forces in plain clothing who were using live bullets and shot two doctors on Thursday, according to medical reports.

Dr Wael Abdo, head of the Sudanese Doctors' Union in Ireland, told Radio Dabanga on Sunday: "The death of Dr Babikir while he was treating patients is the responsibility of Al Bashir's police, the Popular Security, and the entire regime, which has proved to be incapable of governing the country."

In the meantime, Sudanese mourners protesting the killing of Abdelhamid continued their sit-in in front of the martyr's house in Kafouri in Khartoum North.

Misreporting of third casualty

On Saturday, the Sudan Central Medical Committee (SCMC) apologised for announcing the name of Mohamed Obeid among the protesters who were killed by the security forces in eastern Burri district during protests on Thursday.

According to the apology statement, the medical group got the report of Obeid's death from "supposedly reliable sources". The statement went on to say: "Through its channels, the Committee continues to investigate the truth (the false report of Obeid's murder) and announce it in due course".

The SCMC is part of the Sudanese Professionals Association, a recently-established coalition of groups set up by Sudanese professionals including doctors, lawyers, and journalists.

Tageting of doctors

Violent incidents against doctors have accumulated in the weeks of protests. On Thursday, a security force stormed El Feisal Specialised Hospital in downtown Khartoum, broke its glass gate and then fired tear gas inside the emergency section.The report was corroborated by Amnesty International. On Wednesday 9 January, government forces entered the Omdurman Teaching Hospital and fired live bullets and tear gas in their pursue of wounded protesters from earlier that day. They marched into the emergency and medical sections of the Omdurman Hospital roughing up both patients and doctors.

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