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Families Demand DNA Tests to Identify their Loved Ones in Sudan’s Hospital Morgues

The families of those missing after three years of political unrest in Sudan are to meet government officials to discuss how to bury more than 3,000 unclaimed bodies in the country’s mortuaries. On Thursday, government officials will sit down with UN officers, families of the missing and activists to discuss the matter. The families of the missing have been consistently told there were no unclaimed bodies in mortuaries. But in May, authorities closed down a hospital morgue in the capital, Khartoum, after more than 1,000 bodies were found to be decaying in the heat. Officials said another 1,300 bodies were being kept in two other Khartoum hospitals. Tayeb el-Abbas, a lawyer and the head of the missing persons investigation committee set up by the transitional government in 2019, said all bodies should be formally identified and buried in individual graves. Last week, the government announced plans to dig mass graves as Sudan’s senior public prosecutor said mortuaries were overcrowded, many remains were decaying and they needed to be cleared. But the move angered families and campaigners who said it would “bury the truth”, eliminating any remaining evidence about the pro-democracy protesters presumed to have been killed by paramilitaries during and after the 2018 uprising and 2019 coup that ousted former president Omar al-Bashir.