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Sudan's Bashir visits Egypt, says protesters trying to imitate Arab Spring

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (l) receives his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir (r) at the airport in Cairo, Egypt, January 27, 2019
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (l) receives his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir (r) at the airport in Cairo, Egypt, January 27, 2019 AFP/HO/Egyptian presidency

Beleaguered Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has met his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on his second trip abroad since anti-government protests kicked off across Sudan in December.

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"This is an attempt to copy the Arab Spring in Sudan, these are the same slogans and appeals and the very wide use of social media sites," said Bashir, referring to the uprisings across the region that began in 2011.

This is Bashir’s biggest challenge to his authority since coming to power in a coup d’état in 1989. The government says that at least 30 people have been killed in the protests since they began. Human rights groups and professional associations along with the media say the number is closer to 45 killed.

They have put videos and photos on social media, showing the brutality by Sudanese security forces against peaceful protesters, including the use of live ammunition to disperse protesters and funeral-goers. Security forces have also arrested hundreds of people, including doctors.

“We do not claim there is no problem, but it is not of the size or dimensions some of the media portray,” he said at a joint press conference in the Egyptian capital.

Egypt’s Sisi characterised the visit as “the culmination of the numerous efforts we made in the past year to reinforce bilateral relations.”

Bashir has blamed both the media and western non-governmental organisations for ‘telling lies’ in the past, notably regarding attacks against Darfuri by Sudan government-backed militia called Janjaweed. He has an international arrest warrant on his head for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Darfur region from 2003 onwards.

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