On 25th October, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led a coup against the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He later dissolved the joint civilian-military government in power since the 2019 popular uprising (which ousted former President Omar al-Bashir) and now replaced it with a military one. The coup has resulted in numerous popular protests across Sudan against al-Burhan and seems to have caught the West by surprise.
Al-Burhan’s move was a result of impatience with Hamdok, who he considered unable to fulfill the country’s need for a strong leader. It was also in response to the recent military-backed demonstrations in the capital, Khartoum, protesting against poor living conditions (further exacerbated by a blockade of the country’s main port, which led to shortages). The escalation of the crisis has been worsening as a result of the large-scale popular protests that took place after the coup, which so far have resulted in twelve confirmed deaths.
The international community was quick to denounce the coup: the US for instance has halted its $700 million financial assistance package to the country. Several international organizations have also condemned the coup. The African Union has punished Sudan by suspending its membership and the UN’s Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, issued a statement condemning the coup: “[…] Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan”.
The current joint civilian-military government was expected to fully transfer its power to a solely civilian government by November, a prospect that has been rescheduled to 2023. Many Sudanese civilians have expressed a lack of faith in this promise in the recent ongoing protests. Surprisingly enough though, there have been reports of ongoing negotiations between the army and Sudanese politicians over a new power-sharing agreement. Volker Perthes for instance (a UN envoy) has told reporters that a proposal to end the crisis has apparently been issued to all sides involved.
However, despite the apparent negotiation to resolve the crisis, a substantial lack of mutual trust on all sides may jeopardize the prospects of a peaceful resolution. Many within and outside Sudan fear this coup might be the beginning of the end of democracy in Sudan.
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