World Bank Chief In Sudan For First Visit In 40 Years

World Bank president David Malpass attends a meeting with the Sudanese prime minister in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on September 30, 2021. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

 

World Bank President David Malpass, in Sudan on Thursday for the first visit in nearly 40 years by a head of the development body, praised the country’s reforms but cautioned against “political slippages”.

A transitional government and a civilian-military Sovereign Council have been running the African nation since 2019 after the ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Under Bashir, Sudan endured decades of corruption and stringent US sanctions.

The United States removed Sudan from its state sponsor of terrorism blacklist in December 2020, eliminating a major hurdle to much-needed aid and financial investment.

“Two years ago, Sudan’s transitional government inherited a deeply damaged economy and society that had suffered decades of conflict and isolation,” Malpass said during a speech in Khartoum.

“Even as the people resolved to break with the past, Sudan faced extraordinary headwinds,” including the Covid-19 pandemic and unprecedented floods, he said.

“Yet the country pressed forward with bold reforms,” making possible more than $50 billion in debt relief which Malpass called the largest Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative ever.

“While there is much work ahead, I commend the Sudanese authorities, civil and military, for their efforts and achievements in working together toward a country that is unified, tolerant and can deliver a better future for all its citizens,” said Malpass, an American who noted “this historic time.”

Just over a week after Sudan’s government said it had thwarted a coup attempt, he added: “It’s critical to avoid political slippages because there is no development without peace and stability.”

‘Pivotal Moment’

Analysts said the putsch highlighted threats to Sudan’s transition to full civilian rule.

That transition has remained shaky, reeling from deep fragmentation among political factions, economic woes and a receding role for civilian leaders in one of the world’s least developed countries.

In June hundreds of protesters took to the streets to demand the government’s resignation over International Monetary Fund reforms leading to the debt relief.

As part of the measures, Sudan scrapped diesel and petrol subsidies and carried out a managed float of the Sudanese pound to stem a rampant black market.

Malpass acknowledged “the remarkable resilience of the Sudanese people -– your drive to build a better Sudan despite the challenges is truly inspiring.”

The country’s civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock, whose government had vowed to fix the economy, welcomed the World Bank chief.

“It is indeed a historical moment… your visit comes at another pivotal moment in Sudan history,” Hamdok told the gathering of World Bank officials, government ministers and other dignitaries.

While highlighting Sudan, Malpass more broadly looked at ways of boosting global growth that is inclusive and sustainable when the Covid-19 pandemic “has resulted in increased poverty rates again after decades of steady decline.

“It has pushed nearly 100 million people into extreme poverty, with several hundred million more becoming poor, many of them in middle-income countries,” he said, according to a World Bank statement.

Malpass said determined action in four areas should make a difference: achieving economic stability; leveraging the digital revolution; making development greener and more sustainable; and investing in people.

“This unprecedented crisis has set in motion a time of upheaval. The many choices in coming years will determine whether developing countries suffer a lost decade or can usher in rapid growth and economic transformation,” Malpass said.

AFP

Sudan Government Says Foiled Coup Attempt Linked To Bashir Regime

OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

 

 

Sudan’s fragile transitional government said it foiled an attempted coup Tuesday involving military officers and civilians linked to the ousted regime of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the coup attempt was the “latest manifestation of the national crisis”, referring to deep divisions threatening Sudan’s democratic transition.

In a televised speech, he said the plotters had “made extensive preparations, which were showcased in the security breakdown in cities… blocking of national roads, closure of ports and persistent instigation against the civilian government”.

Information Minister Hamza Baloul said later the coup attempt had been thwarted.

“Order has been restored and the leaders of the attempted coup, both military and civilian, have been arrested,” he said.

The military said “most” of those involved had been apprehended, including 11 officers.

“The army regained control over the sites that perpetrators sought to seize,” it said. “Searches and investigations are still ongoing for others involved.”

Sudan’s army commander and head of the sovereign council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visited the military camp in south Khartoum where the attempted putsch reportedly began.

“Had it succeeded, the attempt could have had devastating consequences on the unity of the army, security forces, and the country,” he said.

State television aired patriotic songs and urged people to “confront” the coup attempt.

In Khartoum, traffic flowed smoothly, including around the army headquarters, where protesters staged a months-long sit-in that eventually led to Bashir’s overthrow in a palace coup in 2019.

Anti-coup demonstrations broke out in several cities.

At Port Sudan in the east, protesters raised Sudanese flags and chanted “no to military rule”, eyewitness Mohamed Hassan said.

– UN, AU condemnation –
Britain, Norway and the United States voiced “strong support” for Sudan’s government.

“The Troika… rejects any attempts to derail or disrupt the Sudanese people’s efforts to establish a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous future,” they said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the “attempted coup” and called on all parties to “remain committed to the transition” in Sudan, while African Union Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat “strongly” condemned the failed power grab.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price warned against “anti-democratic actions” in Sudan.

“We condemn any external interference that seeks to sow disinformation and undermine the will of Sudan’s people,” he said in a statement.

Sudan has a long history of attempted coups, including since Bashir’s ouster, but those were small-scale and immediately foiled.

Officials have often blamed Bashir’s supporters for them. Bashir, a one-time general, came to power on the back of an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989.

Since his ouster, the ex-president has been jailed in Khartoum awaiting trial.

He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for his pursuit of a deadly scorched-earth campaign against ethnic minority rebels in Darfur.

In an address to troops on Tuesday, powerful paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo said: “We will not allow a coup to take place.

“We want (a) real democratic transition through free and fair elections, not like in the past,” said the commander, widely known as Hemeti.

Under an August 2019 power-sharing deal, Sudan is ruled by a sovereign council of civilian and military representatives that is meant to oversee a transition to full civilian rule.

The deal originally provided for the formation of a legislative assembly during a three-year transition but the assembly has yet to materialise and the transition period was reset when Sudan signed a peace deal with rebel groups last October.

– Faltering transition –
Sudan remains plagued by chronic economic problems as well as deep divisions among those steering the transition.

In June, Hamdok warned of fractures within Sudan’s military and security establishment.

“The coup (attempt)… clearly indicates the importance of reform to the military and security sectors,” he said.

Civilians and former rebels have stepped up calls for armed groups and paramilitary forces to be merged into the regular army.

In recent months, tensions have reportedly simmered between paramilitaries and army commanders over the integration process.

The transitional government has launched a package of tough economic reforms to qualify for debt relief from the International Monetary Fund, seen by many Sudanese as too harsh.

‘Failed’ Coup Attempt Reported In Sudan

OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

 

A coup attempt in Sudan “failed” early Tuesday, state media reported, as the country grapples with a fragile transition since the 2019 ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir.

Top military and government sources told AFP that the attempt involved a group of officers who were “immediately suspended” after they “failed” to take over the state media building.

“There has been a failed coup attempt, the people should confront it,” state television said, without elaborating.

A senior member of Sudan’s ruling body, Taher Abuhaja, said, “an attempt to seize power has been thwarted.”

Another senior ruling body member, Mohamed al-Fekki said: “Everything is under control and the revolution is victorious.”

Traffic appeared to be flowing smoothly in central Khartoum, AFP correspondents reported, including around army headquarters, where protesters staged a mass sit-in that eventually led to Bashir’s ouster in a palace coup.

Security forces did however close the main bridge across the Nile connecting Khartoum to its twin city Omdurman.

 

Two Years Under Transition

Sudan is currently ruled by a transitional government composed of both civilian and military representatives that was installed in the aftermath of Bashir’s April 2019 overthrow and is tasked with overseeing a return to full civilian rule.

The August 2019 power-sharing deal originally provided for the formation of a legislative assembly during a three-year transition, but that period was reset when Sudan signed a peace deal with an alliance of rebel groups last October.

More than two years later, the country remains plagued by chronic economic problems inherited from the Bashir regime as well as deep divisions among the various factions steering the transition.

The promised legislative assembly has yet to materialise.

The government, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, has vowed to fix the country’s battered economy and forge peace with rebel groups who fought the Bashir regime.

In recent months, his government has undertaken a series of tough economic reforms to qualify for debt relief from the International Monetary Fund.

The steps, which included slashing subsidies and a managed float of the Sudanese pound, were seen by many Sudanese as too harsh.

Sporadic protests have broken out against the IMF-backed reforms and the rising cost of living, as well as delays to deliver justice to the families of those killed under Bashir.

On Monday, demonstrators blocked key roads as well as the country’s key trade hub, Port Sudan, to protest the peace deal signed with rebel groups last year.

AFP

Floods In Sudan Damage Thousands Of Homes

Cars drive along a flooded street in Khartoum after torrential rain fell on the Sudanese capital, almost paralising traffic, on August 8, 2021. – Flashfloods due to heavy rains swept through Sudan today, overwhelming the country’s already poor drainage systems, and reportedly destroying hundreds of homes in other parts. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

 

Thousands of homes have been damaged in Sudan after torrential rains caused heavy flooding, with many streets in the capital Khartoum deep in water, AFP correspondents said Sunday.

Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan from June to October, and the country faces severe flooding every year, wrecking properties, infrastructure, and crops.

In Atbara, a city in Sudan’s north-east, the official news agency SUNA reported that a number of houses had “collapsed” due to the heavy rains.

READ ALSO: Hundreds Flee, Homes Destroyed As Forest Fires Ravage Greek Island

On Thursday, the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA said some 12,000 people in eight out of the country’s 18 states had been affected.

“Over 800 homes have reportedly been destroyed and over 4,400 homes damaged,” the UN said.

 

Cars drive along a flooded street in Khartoum after torrential rain fell on the Sudanese capital, almost paralising traffic, on August 8, 2021. – Flashfloods due to heavy rains swept through Sudan today, overwhelming the country’s already poor drainage systems, and reportedly destroying hundreds of homes in other parts. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

 

Last year, heavy rains forced Sudan to declare a three-month state of emergency, after flooding affected at least 650,000 people, with over 110,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

In 2020, the Blue Nile — which joins the White Nile in the Sudanese capital Khartoum — floodwater swelled the river to its highest level since records began over a century ago.

AFP

Sudan Sentences Paramilitary Officers To Death For Killing Protesters

 

A Sudanese court on Thursday sentenced six members of a feared paramilitary force to death for killing six protesters during a 2019 demonstration over food and fuel shortages.

The protesters, including four schoolchildren, were shot dead in July 2019 in the city of Al-Obeid in North Kordofan, sparking outrage across Sudan.

Days later, nine members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary unity were arrested.

At their trial on Thursday, broadcast on Sudan TV, Judge Mohamed Rahma sentenced six of the defendants to death, acquitted two others, and referred one to a juvenile court, as he was under 18.

Rahma said the actions of six found guilty were “unnecessary”, and were “not on par with” the alleged verbal provocations by protesters during the otherwise peaceful demonstration.

In Sudan, death sentences are usually carried out by hanging, but the six may appeal the ruling.

Families of the victims demanded “retribution” for the killings during the trial.

The RSF was formed in 2013 under now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled in April 2019 following mass protests against his rule.

The paramilitary group grew out of Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, which were deployed by Bashir’s government to crush an ethnic minority rebellion in the western Darfur region in 2003.

The RSF is led by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, known as Hemeti, who is now a senior member of Sudan’s ruling council.

Sudan has been led by a civilian-military transition since August 2019, vowing to ensure justice to victims of violence.

A protest movement has long blamed the RSF for deadly violence against demonstrators, including June 2019 breaking up of a mass sit-in Khartoum.

In 2019, protesters set up a sprawling encampment outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, calling for an end to Bashir’s rule.

The camp remained for weeks after his ouster, demanding a transition to civilian rule.

In June 2019, armed men in military fatigues stormed the site and launched a days-long crackdown that left at least 128 people dead, according to medics linked to the protest movement.

Sudan’s ruling generals at the time denied ordering the bloody dispersal and called for a probe into the incident.

An investigation committee was launched in late 2019 to look into the events but has yet to finish its inquiry.

-AFP

Defying Egypt And Sudan, Ethiopia Hits Second-Year Target For Filling Nile Mega-Dam

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 26, 2019, a worker goes down a construction ladder at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP)

 

Ethiopia said Monday it had attained its second-year target for filling a mega-dam on the Blue Nile River that has stoked tensions with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.

“The first filling already was done last year. The second one is already done today. So today or tomorrow, second filling will be announced,” an official told AFP, adding there is now enough water stored to begin producing energy.

Water Minister Seleshi Bekele later confirmed the milestone, which officials had earlier predicted would come in August.

In a post on Twitter, he attributed the accelerated timeline to “extreme rainfall” in the Blue Nile basin.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been at the centre of a regional dispute ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the project in 2011.

Egypt and Sudan view the dam as a threat because of their dependence on Nile waters, while Ethiopia deems it essential for its electrification and development.

Talks held under the auspices of the African Union (AU) have failed to yield a three-way agreement on the dam’s filling and operations, and Cairo and Khartoum have demanded Addis Ababa cease filling the massive reservoir until such a deal is reached.

But Ethiopian officials have argued that filling is a natural part of the dam’s construction process and cannot be stopped.

Energy generation

The UN Security Council met earlier this month to discuss the project, although Ethiopia later slammed the session as an “unhelpful” distraction from the AU-led process.

Egypt claims a historic right to the Nile dating from a 1929 treaty that gave it veto power over construction projects along the river.

A 1959 treaty boosted Egypt’s allocation to around 66 percent of the river’s flow, with 22 percent for Sudan.

Yet Ethiopia was not party to those treaties and does not see them as valid.

In 2010 Nile basin countries, excluding Egypt and Sudan, signed another deal, the Cooperative Framework Agreement, that allows projects on the river without Cairo’s agreement.

The Nile’s main tributaries, the Blue Nile and White Nile, converge in Khartoum before flowing north through Egypt to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.

The process of filling the GERD’s reservoir began last year, with Ethiopia announcing in July 2020 it had hit its target of 4.9 billion cubic metres.

The goal for this year’s rainy season — which had been announced before the first cycle was completed — was to add 13.5 billion cubic metres. The reservoir’s capacity is 74 billion.

With the second-year target hit, the dam can run the first two of its 13 turbines, Seleshi said Monday on Twitter.

“Intensive efforts are being made for the two turbines to generate energy,” Seleshi said, adding that “early generation” could be realised “in the next few months.”

‘National symbol’

The $4.2-billion dam is ultimately expected to produce more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity, making it Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam and more than doubling Ethiopia’s electricity output.

Ethiopia had initially planned output of around 6,500 megawatts but later reduced its target.

The first two turbines should produce 750 megawatts of electricity, increasing national output by roughly 20 percent, said Addisu Lashitew of the Brookings Institution in Washington.

It is “a significant amount” for an economy that frequently faces power shortages and is sometimes hobbled by power rationing, he said.

The milestone would also have “political implications” for a country going through “a very difficult time” in no small part because of the eight-month-old war in its northern Tigray region, Addisu said.

“The dam is seen as a national symbol, a unifying symbol. It’s one of the very few things that bring together people from all walks of life in Ethiopia,” he said.

“Definitely the government will try to extract some political value from the second filling.”

AFP

Sudan Inflation Soars Above 400% As Discontent Grows

A woman sells spices in the market in the city of Humera, in the northern Tigray Region, the last Ethiopian city south of the border with Eritrea and Sudan on July 11, 2021. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP)

 

Inflation in Sudan has jumped to more than 400 percent, state media reported on Sunday amid popular discontent over rising prices after a series of IMF-backed economic reforms.

“The annual inflation reached 412.75 percent in June, compared with 378.79 percent in May,” the official news agency SUNA reported, quoting a government statement.

SUNA said the latest spike in the inflation rate was because of price hikes including on food.

Sudan has been going through a rocky transition since the April 2019 ouster of president Omar al-Bashir following mass protests against his rule triggered by economic hardship.

The transitional government installed in August 2019 has vowed to fix the economy which has been battered by decades of US sanctions and mismanagement under Bashir.

In recent months, Sudan scrapped diesel and petrol subsidies and carried out a managed float of the Sudanese pound to stem a rampant black market.

The measures, seen by many Sudanese as harsh, were part of reforms backed by the International Monetary Fund to enable Sudan to qualify for debt relief.

READ ALSO: Israel Removes Cancer Patients From Third Vaccine Jab List

On Friday the Paris Club, Sudan’s biggest creditor, said it would cancel much of the debt owed to it by Sudan to help draw Khartoum back into the international fold.

That announcement came as part of a wider effort by the IMF to relieve more than $50 billion of Sudan’s debt, around 90 percent of its total, over the next few years.

Late last month, hundreds of people took to the streets in the capital and in other cities across Sudan to demand the government’s resignation over the latest reforms.

AFP

Explosion In Sudan Port City Kills Four As Tensions Rise

West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.
West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.

 

An explosion has killed four people in a Sudanese Red Sea port city, officials said Sunday, the latest in a series of violent incidents in the area.

Tensions have been simmering in recent days in Port Sudan where anti-government protesters have reportedly blocked roads over rising insecurity.

Local media have linked the unrest to rejection by the Hedendoa tribe of an October peace deal between rebel groups and the Sudanese government.

Hadendoa, the largest subdivision of the Beja people in the region, fear their tribe will be under-represented in regional legislative and executive bodies under the Juba agreement.

Saturday’s blast took place late in the evening at a busy sporting club in Port Sudan, the provincial capital of the Red Sea state, and also involved an armed attack.

“An explosive device went off at Al-Amir club… killing four people,” the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said in a statement.

Three others were wounded after being shot or stabbed, it added.

Witnesses said the attack was carried out by unidentified armed men on a motorcycle but it was not immediately clear what motivated it.

Authorities in the Red Sea state said in a Sunday statement that one of the perpetrators had been arrested.

Dozens of people later gathered outside the public prosecutor’s office in Port Sudan demand the assailants be brought to justice, witnesses said.

Saturday’s explosion was the latest in a series of violent incidents in Port Sudan, including an attack Friday by unidentified assailants on security forces.

On Saturday a man was killed during a fight on a public bus and that same day there was a failed bid to attack a hotel with explosive, authorities said.

A government statement said that five people were killed on Saturday alone, while six others were wounded in recent unrest.

The doctors’ committee, an independent union of medics, blamed “tribal strife” for the violence and urged security forces to step in.

Sudan has been led by a transitional civilian-military administration following the April 2019 ouster of Islamist president Omar al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years.

The country has since been undergoing a rocky period marked by a wrenching economic crisis and deepening political division.

AFP

Two Killed In Sudan Rally Over 2019 Protest Killings

Demonstrators gather outside the army headquarters in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on May 11, 2021 which corresponds to Ramadan 29, on the hijri-date anniversary of the killing of Sudanese protesters during a raid on an anti-government sit-in in 2019.  (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

 

Two people were killed and dozens wounded as Sudanese security forces dispersed a rally demanding justice for protesters killed during anti-government demonstrations two years ago, the army said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said he was “shocked” by the killings, calling it a “crime to use live bullets against peaceful protesters”.

Hundreds gathered on Tuesday evening outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, at the site where thousands gathered in 2019 initially demanding the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir and urging a transfer to civilian rule.

The demonstration on Tuesday started shortly before iftar, the evening meal which breaks the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

It marked two years since the bloody dispersal of the mass encampment outside the army headquarters.

“As they (the protesters) left the site, unfortunate events occurred resulting in the killing of two people and the wounding of others,” the armed forces said in a statement, adding that an investigation had been launched.

The army said they were “fully prepared to bring to justice, whoever is proven to be involved”.

On Wednesday, the US embassy in Khartoum expressed “shock and dismay” over Tuesday’s killings.

“We condemn use of live ammunition on peaceful protesters,” it said on Twitter, calling on Khartoum to “fully investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators”.

– ‘Calling for justice’ –

In the protests on Tuesday, young demonstrators were seen carrying banners and photos of the people killed during the crackdown on the 2019 sit-in, according to an AFP correspondent.

“Retribution for the martyrs,” many chanted, as they waved Sudanese flags.

“We will continue calling for justice,” said protester Samar Hassan.

One protester gave a speech calling for further demonstrations, if the government failed to present the findings of an investigation into the 2019 killings in the coming weeks.

Witnesses said security forces fired tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Ahead of Tuesday’s gathering, Sudanese authorities set up roadblocks on the routes leading to the army headquarters.

Hamdok, in a statement on Twitter, called the 2019 crackdown “extreme brutality”.

He vowed his transitional government, which took power after Bashir’s ouster, would “bring perpetrators to justice”.

The 2019 sit-in was held to call for an end to Bashir’s three-decade rule.

The iron-fisted ruler was ousted in April 2019, but the protesters kept up the encampment for weeks demanding the transfer of power from the military to civilians.

In June 2019 and towards the end of Ramadan, armed men in military fatigues violently dispersed the camp.

The days-long crackdown left at least 128 people dead, according to medics linked to the protest movement.

The ruling generals at the time denied ordering the bloody dispersal and called for a probe into the incident.

An investigation committee was launched in late 2019 to look into the events, but has yet to finish its inquiry.

AFP

120 Ethiopia Ex-Peacekeepers Seek Asylum In Sudan, Says UN

In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

Around 120 former peacekeepers from Ethiopia, where several regions including northern Tigray are hit by inter-ethnic conflict, have sought asylum in Sudan, the United Nations said Sunday.

The personnel were due to be repatriated on the back of the phased withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, from western Sudan’s Darfur region after its mandate ended on December 31.

“As of now, 120 former UNAMID peacekeepers who were due to be repatriated have sought international protection,” a UN peacekeeping spokesperson told AFP via email.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, also confirmed the former peacekeepers have applied for asylum in Sudan.

They “will be taken to a location where they can be safely undertaken for their refugee status to be determined,” it said without elaborating, due to “protection purposes”.

It was not immediately clear whether all the former peacekeepers seeking asylum originated from Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Claims Two India Olympic Gold Medalists On Same Day

The Tigray conflict broke out last November between Ethiopia’s federal forces and leaders of the region’s ruling party, leaving thousands killed.

The fighting sent some 60,000 refugees fleeing into neighbouring Sudan, a nation struggling with economic woes and a rocky transition since the April 2019 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, is also grappling with ethnic violence in other regions including Amhara, Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz.

UNAMID, deployed in Darfur since 2007, in January began a phased withdrawal of its about 8,000 armed and civilian personnel, to be completed within six months.

Darfur was the scene of a bitter conflict between ethnic African minority rebels, complaining of marginalisation, against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.

The fighting killed some 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to the UN.

AFP

AFCON 2021: South Africa Eliminated After Losing In Sudan

South African national football team ahead of their 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on March 25, 2021. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

 

South Africa failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after losing 2-0 to Sudan Sunday in a final-round Group C match in Omdurman.

Saifeldin Malik gave the hosts a fifth-minute lead in a clash of former African champions by heading past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams off a free- kick.

Mohammed Abdelrahman doubled the lead on 31 minutes, taking advantage of hesitancy by captain Thulani Hlatshwayo before firing past Williams at his near post.

South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki took off star forward Percy Tau just past the hour and surprisingly replaced him with a defender, Sifiso Hlanti, given the desperate need for goals.

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Ghana defeated Sao Tome e Principe 3-1 in Accra in a match played at the same time to finish first with 13 points, followed by Sudan (12), South Africa (10) and Sao Tome (0).

South Africa have gradually faded as a Cup of Nations force after hosting and winning the competition in 1996 and finishing second and third in the following two editions.

Failure to qualify for the 2021 tournament in Cameroon means Bafana Bafana (The Boys) will miss the finals of the marquee African national team competition for the fourth time in seven editions.

Earlier, Tunisia beat Equatorial Guinea 2-1 in Rades in a match between countries who had already qualified from Group J while Tanzania edged Libya 1-0 in Dar es Salaam in the same section.

Guinea, who secured a place at the 24-team tournament earlier this week, surrendered an unbeaten Group A record when losing 2-1 to Namibia in Windhoek.

This Week In Pictures: 13-19 March, 2021

A protester holds onto the shirt of a fallen comrade, during a crackdown by security forces on demonstrations against the military coup, in Hlaing Tharyar township in Yangon on March 14, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

A selection of the week’s news photos from across the world.

From the violence during the protests in Myanmar, the very first female President of Tanzania, immigrants expelled from the United States and the enduring impact of COVID-19: these are our selection of striking news images from around the world this week.

 

A boy splashes himself with water in the Atbarah river near the village of Dukouli within the Quraysha locality, located in the Fashaqa al-Sughra agricultural region of Sudan’s eastern Gedaref state on March 16, 2021. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

 

New Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan sits on a chair after swearing-in ceremony as the country’s first female President after the sudden death of President John Magufuli at statehouse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on March 19, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

 

An intubated COVID-19 coronavirus disease patient receives an injection while lying in an intensive care unit (ICU) of Dura Public Hospital in the village of Dura, west of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on March 16, 2021. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)

 

Personnel of The Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) carry the coffin of fifth Tanzanian president John Magufuli during the national funeral at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 20, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

An Iranian releases a lantern in Tehran on March 16, 2021 during the Wednesday Fire feast, or Chaharshanbeh Soori, held annually on the last Wednesday eve before the Spring holiday of Nowruz.(Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

 

Toure, a Gambian salt harvester, holds a basket filled with the salt collected from the crust of the bottom of the Lake Retba (Pink Lake) in Senegal on March 16, 2021.  (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

 

Jordanian security forces disperse a protest in Amman on March 15, 2021 over measures imposed by authorities to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Khalil MAZRAAWI / AFP)

 

Women cry as attendees mourn the death of the coffin of fifth Tanzanian president John Magufuli during the national funeral at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on March 20, 2021.  (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

The stupa of the Buddhist temple Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) is illuminated in green to mark St. Patrick’s Day in Bangkok on March 17, 2021. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

 

Dozens of Central American migrants are expelled from the United States by the Paso del Norte-Santa Fe international bridge, from El Paso, Texas, United States to Ciudad Juarez, state of Chihuahua, Mexico, on March 18, 2021 (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ / AFP)

 

Baikal, a 14-year-old Siberian tiger, undergoes a dental surgery to cure an infection, at the Mulhouse Zoological and Botanical Park on March 17, 2021. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

 

A man reads a newspaper with a headline announcing the death of Tanzania’s President John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam, on March 18, 2021.  (Photo by – / AFP)

 

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Protesters carry a wounded man shot with live rounds by security forces during a crackdown on demonstrations against the military coup in Yangon on March 17, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

An aerial picture shows Syrians waving the opposition flag during a gathering in the rebel-held city of Idlib on March 15, 2021, as they mark ten years since the nationwide anti-government protests that sparked the country’s devastating civil war.(Photo by Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP)

 

Images of Covid-19 Victims are projected over the Brooklyn bridge as the city commemorates a Covid-19 Day of Remembrance in Brooklyn, New York on March 14, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

 

Medical staff use a gurney to transport from a medical SAMU helicopter a patient evacuated from another hospital, at the CHU -Universitary Hospital- in Angers, March 15, 2021, amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 caused by the new Coronavirus. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

 

A COVID-19 patient arrives by ambulance at a public hospital in Brasilia, Brazil, on March 15, 2021 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP)

 

 

A man wearing a costume of the StarWars protagonist Din Djarin poses in front of a giant replica of the Razor Crest, a gunship from the StarWars spinoff series “The Mandalorian” used by the hit TV show’s mysterious bounty hunter to roam the galaxy’s outer reaches, in a park of the eastern Siberian city of Yakutsk on March 14, 2021. (Photo by Evgeniy SOFRONEYEV / AFP)

 

 

Well-wishers turn on their phone torches as they gather at a band-stand where a planned vigil in honour of alleged murder victim Sarah Everard was cancelled after police outlawed it due to Covid-19 restrictions, on Clapham Common, south London on March 13, 2021. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

Dutch anti-riot police officers detain a man during a demonstration against the government and anti-covid measures at the Malieveld in The Hague on March 14, 2021.  (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)

 

Strong winds and high waves hit the coast on March 13, 2021 in Plobannalec-Lesconil, western France. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

 

Attendees react during the national funeral of fifth Tanzanian president John Magufuli at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 20, 2021. – (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

A protester holds onto the shirt of a fallen comrade, during a crackdown by security forces on demonstrations against the military coup, in Hlaing Tharyar township in Yangon on March 14, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

This picture taken on March 13, 2021, shows artist Sergei Pakhomov performing inside a wooden structure ‘Corona Tower’ during celebrations of Maslenitsa, the eastern Slavic Shrovetide in the village of Nikola-Lenivets.  (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)