Sudanese protester run over by anti-riot police near local police station
Eyewitness footage shows unmarked transport vehicle carrying police running over protester north of Khartoum.
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Note: This story contains graphic imagery.
On February 20, 2022, Sudanese protesters once again took to the streets to demonstrate against the October 2021 military coup. Protesters across the country have experienced escalating levels of violence from armed forces, as anti-coup demonstrations continue. One particular incident included an unmarked vehicle containing police officers running over a protester.
Geolocated footage shows the incident happened close to a police station in Khartoum Bahri, north of the city of Khartoum, near the intersection of Al-Khatmiyya and Al-Ma Una street. Other videos from the same protest show a similar vehicle, with uniformed officers riding in the back, speeding towards protesters and throwing tear gas canisters. The DFRLab and iLab were able to confirm, with input from eyewitnesses, that Sudanese anti-riot police were present both inside the vehicle and near the protest site.
Police forces, the Sudanese military, intelligence services, and paramilitary groups are collectively referred to as the “regular forces” in Sudan. On December 24, 2021, military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan issued an emergency order allowing members of the regular forces to carry out home searches, surveillance and detention of citizens. According to Beam Reports, a Sudanese media organization, al-Burhan granted the regular forces immunity from legal accountability for actions taken while suppressing protests.
Geolocating the footage
The original footage of a protester being run over by an unmarked vehicle shooting tear gas was shared by multiple Twitter accounts based in Sudan throughout the day of February 20. A second, similarly unmarked vehicle can also be seen in the background driving towards gathered protesters.
Geolocating the footage based off of clearly visible landmarks confirms the incident took place in Khartoum Bahri, near the coordinates 15°37’34.75″N, 32°31’51.20″E. This information was corroborated by an eyewitness, @Guevara__18, who attended the protest and provided the DFRLab and iLab with initial location data.
Further investigation of the area shows a police station, Bahri Local Police Headquarters (رئاسة شرطة محلية بحري), right near where the protester was run over. Using geographic measuring tools, the DFRLab was able to calculate that the walking distance between where the incident took place and the police headquarters was approximately 217 meters.
Identifying vehicle operators
Close inspection of the vehicle that ran over the protester did not reveal any identifying information. However, the footage also reveals that two similar vehicles were present at the protest, both initially recorded traveling north down Al-Ma Una Street.
Additional footage showed what appeared to be one of the two vehicles carrying military personnel wearing blue uniforms. The video, posted by an eyewitness who has requested anonymity for their safety, recorded the vehicle continuing its path north down Al-Ma Una Street. It provides a close-up view inside the vehicle, showing people wearing blue uniforms sitting in the back.
Although the Sudanese police forces wear solid, light blue uniforms, further footage indicated the forces present on February 20 wore darker, camouflaged blue uniforms. The men were seen advancing towards protesters alongside one of the two unmarked vehicles. According to Human Rights Watch, Sudanese anti-riot police wear dark blue camouflage uniforms.
The DFRLab and iLab spoke to protesters who were on the ground in Khartoum Bahri on February 20, on condition of anonymity. The protesters confirmed the presence of anti-riot police at the anti-coup protest. One of the protesters the DFRLab and iLab contacted shared additional video evidence of the unmarked vehicles threatening to run over protesters.
From the footage available online and sent to the DFRLab and iLab, it is clear that the two unmarked vehicles were used to shoot tear gas canisters at protesters in Khartoum Bahri on February 20. It is likely that one of these two vehicles ran over a protester, and at least one of the vehicles contained anti-riot police. These same police officers were also present on the ground.
According to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors’ (CCSD) field report for February 20, three injuries were reportedly caused by military vehicles running over protesters. However, the following day the CCSD reported that another nine protesters were run over by military vehicles in a clear escalation of force against Sudanese citizens demonstrating against last year’s military coup. Similarly, the protesters the DFRLab and iLab spoke to said that violence against protesters in Khartoum Bahri has steadily increased.
Cite this case study:
Tessa Knight and Lujain Alsedeg, “Sudanese protester run over by anti-riot police near local police station,” Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), March 21, 2022, https://medium.com/dfrlab/sudanese-protester-run-over-by-anti-riot-police-near-local-police-station-e0d40ee8bc36.