Ethiopia PM in Sudan to broker talks between generals, protesters

Locals set tyres on fire and block a side street leading to their neighborhood in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to stop military vehicles from driving through the area

"The United States condemns the recent attacks on protesters in Sudan", State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement, calling for "a civilian-led transition that leads to timely elections and free expression of the will of the Sudanese people".

On Monday, the Doctors Committee put the death toll from the crackdown at 40.

By Tuesday, Khartoum's streets were quieter.

More than 300 people were injured, according to the CCSD, although the exact number of wounded was hard to establish since the TMC has switched off the internet in many parts of the country.

The Sudanese authorities spoke out for the first time on Thursday about the death toll, denying that it was as high as 100 and claiming it was "at most" 46.

"We have reached the point where we can't even step out of our homes because we are scared to be beaten or to be shot by the security forces", one Khartoum resident said, asking not to be named.

"In Buri, there were lots of shootings and tear gas", said Hashim al-Sudani, an activist.

In violence reminiscent of some of the worst moments of former president Omar al-Bashir's 30-year regime, scores of protesters are said to have been killed in attacks reportedly linked to the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group born out of the Janjaweed - the militia tied to atrocities during the 2003 Darfur conflict. Witnesses said protesters had retreated to residential areas where they were building barricades and burning tyres.

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Burhan's latest remarks marked a significant change from his televised speech early Tuesday, when the general blamed protest leaders for the volatile situation, accusing them of drawing out negotiations and trying to exclude some "political and security forces" from taking part in any transitional government.

During a closed-door council meeting, Britain and Germany circulated a press statement that would have called on the military rulers and protesters to "continue working together towards a consensual solution to the current crisis", according to the draft seen by Agence France Presse. But the already faltering negotiations collapsed in the wake of this week's crackdown. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the military council, announced the agreement was cancelled and an election would take place within nine months.

He also said those responsible for the deadly breakup of the eight-week-old sit in outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum would be held accountable.

The motives for Burhan's about-face - if honest - were not immediately clear. But the offer could cause divisions within the protest movement, where some factions may be open to returning to the table.

The opposition said it would accept his mediation if the military council took responsibility for Monday's violence, an worldwide investigation was launched, and political prisoners were freed.

It said it was the victim of a media smear campaign and has promised an inquiry.

The committee said the Rapid Support Forces took the bodies to an unknown location. Some women had reportedly been raped, it said. "Their vehicles patrol the streets, firing at people". "We call for a swift transition to a civilian administration, justice and an end to impunity", the organisation said.

Sudan has been rocked since December when anger over rising bread prices and shortages turned into protests against Bashir that culminated in the military removing him after a three-decade rule where he became a pariah in Western eyes.

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