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Sudan hospital patient shot dead amid anti-coup protests

The 51-year-old was shot on a hospital balcony while trying to get fresh air amid heavy tear gas in a town near Khartoum, says Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors
A masked demonstrator waves a Sudanese flag during ongoing protests calling for civilian rule in the Sahafa neighbourhood in the south of Sudan's capital Khartoum on 20 February (AFP)

A patient standing on a hospital balcony was killed by a stray bullet fired by security forces in Sudan on Sunday, medics said, as protesters continued a four-month campaign against military rule.

A 51-year-old man was shot while trying to get fresh air amid heavy tear gas in the city of Bahri, across the Nile from Khartoum, the Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors, a group aligned with the protest movement, said. 

The death brought the number of people killed since the protests began to 82.

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Police had no immediate statement on the death and could not be reached for comment.

The deadly shooting took place as United Nations human rights expert Adama Dieng arrived in the country. Dieng is visiting Sudan until Thursday, on a trip initially planned for last month but postponed at the request of Sudanese authorities.

UN special representative Volker Perthes said on Twitter Sunday that he met with rights expert Dieng on "his first official visit" to Sudan. 

"Dieng will meet with senior Sudanese government officials, representatives of civil society organisations, human rights defenders, heads of UN entities, and diplomats," the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement this week. 

Sudan's deadly crackdown

Protests against the 25 October coup have faced crackdowns that have drawn local and international condemnation.  

While Sudan has repeatedly denied opening fire on protesters, Human Rights Watch has quoted witnesses detailing how the security forces have used both "live ammunition" and fired tear gas canisters "directly" at crowds, a tactic that can be deadly at close quarters.

In protests in Khartoum on Sunday, security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades, and water cannon sprayed red water at protesters, a Reuters reporter said. Gunfire could be heard.

Some protesters were carried away bleeding on motorcycles, the reporter said.

The protesters managed to reach within less than 500 metres of the heavily protected presidential palace for the first time in more than a month.

"We will continue taking to the streets until we succeed, defeating the coup and achieving democracy," said Iman, a 35-year-old protester.

Protests were also held in the neighbouring city of Omdurman and cities across the country, including Gadarif and El-Obeid. 

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