Sudanese medical officials warned last Monday that unidentified bodies piled up in several of the country’s morgues could lead to an outbreak of disease. Among the deceased are believed to be pro-democracy protesters, killed by government forces in their crackdown on demonstrations.

KHARTOUM OCTOBER 2: Sudanese medical officials warned on Monday that more than 1,500 unidentified bodies piled up in several of the country’s morgues could lead to an outbreak of disease, amid accusations the government is covering up their causes of death.

Among the deceased are believed to be pro-democracy protesters, who activists say were killed by government forces in their crackdown on demonstrations. They believe the failure to conduct proper autopsies is an attempt to conceal evidence of those killings.

Mahjoub Babaker, a forensic medicine and toxicology consultant for the country’s autopsy body, expressed concerns because of the proximity of one of the morgues to a market.

At a press conference Monday (26/9), he and three other officials argued against the need to carry out independent autopsies, saying instead that there should be a mass burial of the bodies for public safety reasons. They announced a postponement of any autopsies in order to discuss matters with the deceased individuals’ families.

Reports of the backlog of bodies awaiting autopsy first emerged in May, with news videos released earlier this month showing piles of corpses kept in a building that appeared to have no refrigeration.

Then, the country’s top public prosecutor authorized the mass burial of the bodies last month without an autopsy. It came as the country faced an ongoing crackdown on anti-military protests after a military coup last year.

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