The new Prime Minister of Sudan launches an investigation into the death of protesters

CAIRO: Sudan The newly appointed prime minister launched an independent investigation into the deadly repression of June against protesters who killed dozens of people and threatened to crush the country's pro-democratic uprising.

Protest leaders had demanded the establishment of an international inquiry as part of a subsequent power-sharing agreement with the military, but the generals insisted on a Sudan ese-led probe.

According to the protesters, at least 128 people were killed and hundreds injured when the security forces violently dispersed the main sitting of the protesters outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, on June 3. Authorities estimated the death toll at 87, including 17 within the rest area.

The violence signaled a crackdown across Sudan that led to a breakdown in talks between the protesters and the ruling generals, who ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April amid nationwide protests against his nearly 30-year rule.

Sudan 's new civilian leader, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, said late Saturday the investigation will be led by a seven-member committee that includes a top judge, an independent figure and two attorneys. The justice, defense and interior ministries will also be represented on the committee.

The investigation, which should complete its work within six months, could seek the support of the African Union if necessary, said Hamdok, who was heading to New York to attend UN meetings.

An investigation by Sudan ese prosecutors in July said the ruling generals did not order the deadly break-up, but blamed the widely condemned dispersal on paramilitary forces who exceeded their orders.

Prosecutor Fathel-Rahman Said said at the time that the security forces were only told to clear an illegal area near the protest camp, not the sitting itself.

In the days before the dispersion, the military said the lawless area near the camp had become a refuge for `` drug traffickers and other criminals. ''

However, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces troops moved to disperse the protest camp on their own initiative, Said added.

He said eight RSF officers, including one, have been charged with crimes against humanity. He did not give details on how the investigation against the accused officers would proceed.

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