• Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

The military has seized power in Sudan. These are the main keys to the conflict that is shaking the country


Oct 26, 2021

(CNN) – Sudan has entered a crisis after the military dissolved the country’s government on Monday and declared a state of emergency.

The coup has crushed hopes for a peaceful transition of power following the removal of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

This is what you should know:

What is happening in Sudan?

Sudan has been ruled by a difficult alliance between the military and civilian groups since 2019, but on Monday, the military effectively took control.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. Numerous ministers and government officials were also detained.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s armed forces, dissolved the Sovereign Council and the transitional government, which share power.

He claimed that the power-sharing agreement with the civilian members of the country’s Sovereign Transitional Council “turned into a conflict” in the past two years, “threatening the peace and unity” of Sudan.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok deposed on October 25.

Several articles of the Constitution have been suspended and state governors have been removed, Burhan said.

Who is Burhan?

Sudan’s highest-ranking general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is behind the military’s seizure of power.

He has been head of the Sovereign Council, a hybrid civil-military body created to guide Sudan towards democracy. As the leader of the council, he served as head of state for the past two years.

Burhan was to relinquish control of the council to a civilian leader in the next few weeks. Instead, he dissolved the council, saying in a televised statement that it would hold elections in July 2023 and then hand over to an “independent and fair representative government.”

Sudan’s highest-ranking general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is behind the military’s seizure of power. (Credit: ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP via Getty Images)

How did the current problems start?

When Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a coup in 2019, ending his brutal three-decade rule, Sudan’s military leadership took over to oversee the transition of power, forming the Transitional Military Council.

But the council was strongly opposed by a pro-democracy movement calling for a civilian government instead. After tense negotiations that lasted weeks, the two sides agreed to form a Sovereign Council that would rule “for the next three years or a little longer.”

Under the agreement reached in July 2019, the military council would run the country for the first 21 months. A civil administration would then govern the council for the next 18 months.

But it has proven to be an unstable alliance. The triumphalist atmosphere that invaded the nation after Bashir’s removal has turned sour, and tensions between the two sides have increased in their struggle to maintain control over the future of the nation.

Was the coup a surprise?

Not at all. Adam Hireika, Hamdok’s aide, told CNN that the prime minister was aware of the army’s plans and had been pressured to dissolve the government.

Sudanese protesters gather in the capital Khartoum on October 25, 2021.

Hireika said she visited Hamdok on Sunday night, where she discussed the current situation. He said Hamdok had just met with Burhan.

On Monday, the Information Ministry said Hamdok had been pressured to make a statement “in support of the inauguration.” Instead, he said, he called on pro-democracy protesters to take to the streets in peaceful protest.

Why is this happening?

Tensions had risen after some politicians, including Hamdok, pushed for a full transition to civilian rule by November 17, in accordance with the original transition agreement.

The situation worsened last month, when a military coup attributed to forces loyal to Bashir, with the result that most of the officers involved were arrested.

In the weeks since, military leaders have demanded reforms to the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition and the replacement of the cabinet. Civil leaders accused them of seizing power.

A crowd of protesters Sudanese took to the streets last Thursday, demanding compliance with the 2019 transition agreement and calling for an elected government. There were also protests pro-military who are opposed to civil government.

How has the international community reacted?

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres condemned the coup and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials, he said in a tweet on Monday, adding that the UN “will continue to be” with the people of Sudan.

Guterres reiterated his condemnation at a press conference on Tuesday, adding that the world is seeing “how coups d’etat multiply.”

The pro-democracy protests began shortly after the coup, on October 25, 2021.

At a press conference, the White House said the Biden government was “deeply alarmed” by the events that were taking place in Sudan, while the UK called the coup an “unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people.”

What does this mean for US aid programs?

The United States had high hopes for Sudan’s transition to democracy and, in recent weeks, has tried to avoid a possible military coup.

Last year it removed Sudan from your list of state sponsors of terrorism and, in June, it supported a US $ 50 billion debt relief package for the country. As tensions have escalated in recent weeks, the biden government has voiced support for the transition to civilian-led democracy in Sudan, and stressed that any attempt by military elements to thwart it would have consequences for planned US aid.

Over the weekend, the United States sent its top regional delegate, Jeffrey Feltman, to Khartoum to discuss the democratic transition with Prime Minister Hamdok, General Burhan and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, and urged “all actors to re-commit to working together” to implement the agreement. Right after his visit, the Sudanese military launched their takeover.

On Monday, the White House condemned the coup and suspended US $ 700 million emergency aid to Sudan aimed at supporting the democratic transition, critical aid for a country facing a growing economic crisis.

Four people died and at least 80 were injured as a result of shots fired during the pro-democracy demonstrations.

What do the protesters want?

Thousands of protesters who oppose the coup took to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, on Monday, some chanting: “We walk with worry in our hearts and worry sleeps in people’s chests.” They met in various places.

Four people died and at least 80 were injured as a result of the shots fired during the demonstrations, according to the Sudan Central Committee of Doctors in a statement on Facebook. The Committee, which is aligned with the civilian component of the now-dissolved Sovereign Council, blamed the military for the shooting. CNN was unable to verify these claims.

Videos posted on social media showed crowds heading toward the Army General Command. Some could be seen removing barbed wire that had been laid on a road, amid reports of street closures in various parts of the city.

Civilian government supporters have also announced a civil disobedience program and a strike in response to the military takeover, the Information Ministry reported on Facebook.

In what situation is the democratic transition?

The military takeover threatens to derail Sudan’s path to democracy, just as the country has begun to resurface after decades of autocratic rule, global isolation and crippling economic sanctions.

Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was removed from office in 2019.

Within weeks, the Sudanese were about to celebrate their first full civilian leadership in three decades. But now, the military has declared that they will rule on their own, and it is unclear whether they will fulfill their promise of free elections.

Where is Omar al-Bashir?

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued arrest warrants in 2009 and 2010 against Bashir on charges of genocide and war crimes related to Sudan’s military campaign in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.

Earlier this year, the government announced that would hand over the former president to the ICC, along with other officials wanted by the Darfur conflict.

The former president is currently in prison in Sudan; was sentenced to two years for corruption and illegal possession of foreign currency in 2019. He also faces another trial in Sudan for his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power.