Three Sudanese Protesters Killed as Anti-Bashir Sentiment Mounts

(Bloomberg) -- Three Sudanese protesters have been shot and killed at an anti-government rally, bringing the total number of deaths to at least 22 since demonstrations against the rule of President Omar al-Bashir erupted on Dec. 19.

The shootings occurred in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital, Khartoum, on Wednesday, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, an independent medical group, said in a statement handed to reporters. A further six people were injured at the demonstration that was held at the same time as a pro-government rally in Khartoum, it said.

Widespread discontent with soaring living costs has fueled the wave of protests against Bashir, 75, who came to power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup. He has vowed to remain in power and told supporters that elections are the only way out of the crisis.

While rich in oil, decades of strife -- including with its southern neighbor -- U.S. sanctions imposed on Bashir that were lifted in 2017, and general mismanagement have curtailed government efforts to expand Sudan’s economy. Inflation has hovered at almost 70 percent, while three currency devaluations and shortages of cash and fuel have hit Sudanese hard.

Bashir maintains the situation has been brought about by malcontents intent on subverting a nation on the brink of revival. The 75-year-old former army general has packed parliament with supporters as he seeks a constitutional amendment allowing him to run for office again in elections in 2020.

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