KHARTOUM – The last time Raouda Abdul Gadir Bakhit saw her son Fadul was a few days before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Fadul, 26, was one of thousands of young people joining a monthslong sit-in outside Sudan’s army headquarters in Khartoum, demanding democracy.
When Ramadan ended June 3, though, Sudan’s security forces violently broke up the sit-in, and Fadul disappeared.
Bakhit, 64, said she didn’t know why Fadul was the only one to go missing among his colleagues, friends and neighbors, because a lot of them were going back and forth to the sit-in.
The Sudanese Doctors Committee said that as troops cleared the protest area, they killed at least 100 protesters and injured 400.
The group said 40 bodies were pulled from the Nile River, where security forces had dumped them.
Sudanese authorities said 87 people were killed.
Bakhit’s son wasn’t the only protester who went missing. An investigative committee formed by the main protest group, the Sudanese Professional Association, located 15 of the missing, five of whom were dead, SPA spokesman Mohamed Nagi Alasam said.
The other 10 had been tortured, he said, and some have wounds or physiological problems. He said they planned to give testimony but would first undergo intensive treatment.
Eight months later, at least 25 of the missing protesters have not been found. Relatives of the missing fear their bodies may have been lost in the Nile River or disappeared by security services.
Sudan’s transitional government formed an investigative committee to track down the missing. Fadia Khalaf Allah, a member of that committee, said four more protesters had gone missing since December.
Khalaf said the committee was doing its best to find the missing people. There have been more opportunities recently to enter morgues, she said, and DNA tests are being used to try to identify bodies there.
Relatives of the missing, like Bakhit, can only hope and pray that their loved ones have gone into hiding or are being held by security.
She believes deeply that Fadul is alive but detained, she said. He would never disappear from home this whole time, she said. If he died, for sure we would know. I pray for him every night.
Relatives hope to get some answers when the committee releases a report next month.
Source: Voice of America