BRUSSELS   -   The European Union on Monday called on Sudanese military officials to transfer power to civilians.

“Any decision to intensify the use of force can only derail the political process. The European Union’s priority remains the rapid transfer of power to a civilian authority,” said Maja Kocijancic, the EU foreign affairs and security policy spokeswoman.

Kocijancic said the EU has been following the incidents closely, including the attacks on civilian protesters. “We call on the Transitional Military Council [TMC] to act responsibly and respect people’s right to express their concerns,” she added.

At least 13 protesters were killed and scores of others injured as Sudanese security forces moved in to clear the main protest camp near the army headquarters in Khartoum.

In early April, Sudan’s military establishment deposed President Omar al-Bashir following months of popular demonstrations against his 30-year rule.

The TMC is now overseeing a two-year transitional period during which it has pledged to hold presidential elections. Demonstrators, however, have remained on the streets to demand that the TMC relinquish power -- at the earliest possible date -- to a civilian authority.

13 killed as Sudan forces clear protest camp in capital

At least 13 protesters were killed and hundreds injured on Monday as Sudanese security forces moved in to clear the main protest camp near the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, according to protest organizers.

Eyewitnesses said security forces used live ammunition and teargas to disperse the protesters, who have been camping out near the military headquarters since the ouster of long-serving President Omar al-Bashir in April.

“Militias belong to the government have aggressively attacked thousands of civilians in the sit-in,” the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) said in an earlier statement. The Declaration of Freedom and Change alliance said 13 protesters were killed and hundreds injured when security forces moved in to disperse the camp.

Opposition negotiator Abbas Medani was reportedly injured during the dispersal, according to eyewitnesses. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD) earlier said nine protesters had been killed and scores injured in the dispersal.  “We are holding the Transitional Military Council (TMC) responsible for what happened this morning,” SPA said, going on to call on protesters “to join the sit-in to resist this attempt”. But the TMC denied attempting to break the sit-in by force.  “We did not break up the sit-in by force,” TMC spokesman Shamseddine Kabbashi told the Dubai-based Sky News Arabia. “Youth are moving freely and there is no soldier in the protest camp area,” he said.

The spokesman, however, said security forces only raided the “Colombia” area -- which is located below the iron bridge of Al-Nil street in Khartoum -- which he described as “dangerous”. Kabbashi expected that talks about transition to civilian rule will be resumed between the TMC on Monday or Tuesday.

The sit-in near the army headquarters has been the epicenter of protests demanding the TMC hand over power to a civilian government.

In early April, Sudan’s military establishment deposed al-Bashir following months of popular demonstrations against his 30-year rule.

The TMC is now overseeing a two-year transitional period during which it has pledged to hold presidential elections. Demonstrators, however, have remained on the streets to demand that the TMC relinquish power -- at the earliest possible date -- to a civilian authority.