New Toll: Twenty-Three Killed in Sudan Mosque Massacre
A total of 23 people were killed by an Islamic militant gunman who went on a rampage at a mosque near the Sudanese capital on Friday, a report said Sunday after two more died of their wounds.
Two people died in the hospital on Saturday after they were shot and wounded by the extremist at the mosque in Jarafa village outside the capital Khartoum, the independent newspaper Akhbar Al-Yom said.
Journalists with the state-run SUNA news agency told AFP the death toll remained at 23 on Sunday.
The two new victims were reported to be men over 50 years old and were to be buried within a day of their deaths following Islamic custom.
A mass funeral for most of those who died Friday night was staged Saturday with blanketed corpses carried on bedsteads to the graveyard in Jarafa.
Police said Friday that all the people whom Abbas al-Baqir Abbas, 33, shot and killed were worshippers. Abbas, an extremist from the Takfir wal-Hijra group, was himself killed in a shootout with police outside the mosque.
However, witnesses and newspapers said Sunday that the gunman not only targeted worshippers but also people outside when he went on a rampage through the village, killing at least two boys in indiscriminate fire.
Witnesses in the village said he avoided targeting the women's section of the mosque and at one point reassured a woman who tried to flee that he would not shoot women.
The massacre took place during Friday evening prayers at the mosque of the pacifist Ansar al-Sunna sect in the village of Jarafa on the outskirts of Omdurman, part of the metropolitan area of the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
The outlawed Takfir wal-Hijra (Atonement and Self-Denial) believes the Islamic law that governs Sudan should be implemented by force, while Ansar al-Sunna, (Supporters of the Rules of the Prophet Mohammed) does not.
The Takfir wal-Hijra has carried out attacks on Ansar's mosques two other times since 1996.
Newspaper and other accounts said Abbas had argued at the Jarafa mosque a number of times in the past while visiting his brother Ismail in the village.
The sect itself accused him of having threatened worshippers and prayer leaders and now called on the government to ban the activities of the group.
President Omar el-Beshir's adviser for legal and political affairs, Abdel Basset Subderat, told reporters that the interior minister and other key cabinet ministers had given wider guidelines for security forces to curb violence.
He did not specify what the measures were.
"This amendment is not for specific organizations," he told journalists who asked whether it targeted the Takfir. "It is left to the security forces to enforce it."
Beshir had promised increased security measures on Saturday.
Abbas' uncle Mohammed Ahmed Osman told Sunday's edition of the official Al-Anbaa newspaper that Abbas' mother deserted the family home because of his religious fanaticism.
He added that Abbas was also deported from Libya before completing his studies there in the faculty of economics at Tripoli University, where he led Islamist groups the authorities saw as threatening security.
Police added that Abbas served in the militia known as the popular defense forces before undergoing military training and fighting anti-government rebels waging a 17-year civil war in southern Sudan -- KHARTOUM (AFP)
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