June 15, 2020 / 1:33 PM / 24 days ago

UPDATE 2-Sudan finds mass grave of conscripts killed during Bashir's rule

(Adds details, background)

By Khaled Abdelaziz

KHARTOUM, June 15 (Reuters) - Sudan’s public prosecutor on Monday announced the discovery of a mass grave east of Khartoum suspected to contain the remains of students killed in 1998 as they tried escaping military service at a training camp.

An investigation had been launched, the prosecutor said, adding that some of the suspected killers belonging to the ousted administration of Omar al-Bashir had fled.

A source in the investigators’ team told Reuters dozens of bodies had been found at the site east of the capital.

The prosecutor said the conscripts were shot while fleeing the El Eifalun camp fearing they would be sent to southern Sudan where Bashir’s Islamist regime was fighting a civil war with rebels.

Poorly trained and poorly equipped conscripts were sent into the bush to fight against the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The students were also angry that they had been denied time to spend with their families during an Islamic holiday, according to the prosecutor.

No more details were immediately available.

Commanders and instructors of conscripts were often members of Bashir’s ruling party and allied Islamists who often framed the conflict against the SPLA, from the mainly Christian south, as holy war.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the political wing of the SPLA, won independence for the south in 2011 following a peace deal with Bashir’s regime in 2005.

The prosecutor also said a case had been submitted to the judiciary against Bashir and about 40 associates in relation to the 1989 coup that brought his regime to power.

Sudanese have been awaiting further charges against Bashir who has been held in jail since he was deposed by the military in April 2019 following a popular uprising.

The public prosecutor said a case involving the killing last year of six people, at least four of them children, at a protest had been submitted to the judiciary in the central city of El-Obeid, where the killings took place.

In December, a court convicted Bashir on corruption charges and sentenced him to two years of detention in a reform facility.

Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region. (Reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz and Nafisa Eltahir; Additional reporting by Nadine Awadalla; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean and Nick Macfie)

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