Sudan Doctors Protest State Violence In Post-Coup Rallies

Dozens of Sudanese doctors demonstrate in Khartoum on January 16, 2022 to denounce attacks by security forces against medical personnel and doctors during pro-democracy rallies opposed to the October military coup. (Photo by AFP)

 

Sudanese doctors protested Sunday against violent attacks by security forces targeting medical personnel during pro-democracy rallies following last year’s military coup.

“During every protest they fire tear gas inside the hospital where I work,” one doctor, Houda Ahmad, said at the rally in Khartoum.

“They even attack us inside the intensive care unit,” she added at the rally, where medical personnel carried pictures of colleagues they said had been killed.

The demonstration was the latest in the crisis-hit north-east African country, where protesters in the north also blockaded roads to vent their anger against an electricity price hike announced last week, and that has since been frozen.

Sudan’s October 25 coup led by military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan derailed a fragile transition to civilian rule, that had started with the 2019 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir following youth-led mass protests.

The military power grab has sparked an international outcry and triggered a new wave of street demonstrations, with another rally expected on Monday.

During the turmoil of recent months, prime minister Abdulla Hamdok was detained and later reinstated but then quit, warning that Sudan was at a dangerous crossroads threatening its very “survival”.

Deadly crackdowns have claimed the lives of 64 protesters, according to pro-democracy medics. A police general has also been killed in the street violence that has rocked Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries.

– Pandemic and poverty –

The UN World Health Organization said last week there had been 11 confirmed attacks on Sudanese health facilities since November.

The WHO said it was “also aware of the interception of ambulances, medical personnel and patients during their attempts to seek safety”.

It called for the attacks to “stop now”, pointing out that they threaten healthcare services needed more than ever during the Covid pandemic.

Covid-19 is a “grave threat” for Sudan, where 94 percent of the population has not been vaccinated, said the WHO.

Sudan has confirmed 93,973 coronavirus infections and about 4,000 deaths. In September, it said 64 percent of about 1,000 health workers tested had been found to be Covid-positive.

Sudan’s 45 million people have also been dealing with a severe economic crisis and inflation approaching 400 percent.

On Sunday, hundreds blocked key roads in the Northern Province, 350 kilometres (229 miles) from the capital, angered by recent news electricity prices would double — a move that was then frozen, but not officially abolished.

“No vehicle will pass until the authorities have cancelled this increase, because it signs the death certificate of our agriculture,” protester Hassan Idriss told AFP by phone.

The protests that led to the 2019 ouster of Bashir had started after the government decided to triple the price of bread.

– Hunger strike –

During the recent protests, Sudan has also often shut down the internet and moved to limit reporting on the unrest.

In the latest move it revoked the licence of Al Jazeera Mubasher, the live TV unit of the Qatar-based network, accusing it of “unprofessional” coverage of protests, the channel said.

The United Nations is now seeking to organise talks involving political, military and social actors to resolve the crisis.

UN special representative Volker Perthes announced the bid last week saying it was “time to end the violence and enter into a comprehensive consultative process”.

The mainstream faction of the Forces for Freedom and Change, the leading civilian pro-democracy group, said Sunday it would accept the offer of dialogue if it were to revive the transition to civilian rule.

Sudan’s military in April 2019 put an end Bashir’s three-decade rule, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of the autocrat and many regime officials.

Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

An imprisoned former foreign minister under Bashir, Ibrahim Ghandour, has begun a hunger strike along with several ex-regime officials, his family said Sunday.

They will only end it “once they have been freed or brought before an impartial tribunal”, his family said in a statement.

The public prosecutor’s office had recently ordered the release of several ex-officials, but Burhan instead ordered they stay in detention.

Ghandour’s family decried the “interference in judicial affairs”.

The protester movement however accuses Burhan, who was Bashir’s ground forces commander, of helping old regime figures come back to power.

US Africa Envoy To Visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan And Ethiopia

In this file photo taken on September 4, 2019 the new US Ambassador to Turkey David M. Satterfield pays his respects as he attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Mausoleum of the Turkish Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Anitkabir), in Ankara. Adem ALTAN / AFP
In this file photo taken on September 4, 2019 the new US Ambassador to Turkey David M. Satterfield pays his respects as he attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Mausoleum of the Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Anitkabir), in Ankara. Adem ALTAN / AFP

 

The US special envoy for the Horn of Africa will visit Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Ethiopia next week amid ongoing crises in the two African nations, the State Department announced Friday.

David Satterfield and Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee will travel to Riyadh, Khartoum and Addis Ababa from January 17-20.

In Riyadh, the pair will meet with the Friends of Sudan, a group calling for the restoration of the country’s transitional government following a military coup in October.

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The meeting aims to “marshal international support” for the UN mission to “facilitate a renewed civilian-led transition to democracy” in Sudan, according to the statement.

Satterfield and Phee will then travel to Khartoum, where they will meet with pro-democracy activists, women’s and youth groups, civil organizations and military and political figures.

“Their message will be clear: the United States is committed to freedom, peace, and justice for the Sudanese people,” the statement read.

In Ethiopia, the pair will talk with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to seek a resolution to the deepening civil war.

“They will encourage government officials to seize the current opening for peace by ending the air strikes and other hostilities,” the statement read.

They will also ask for the establishment of a ceasefire, the release of political prisoners and the restoration of humanitarian access.

Satterfield, the former US ambassador to Turkey, was appointed to replace Jeffrey Feltman as special envoy on January 6.

Feltman quit just as he visited Ethiopia in a bid to encourage peace talks to end more than a year of war following the withdrawal of Tigrayan rebels.

The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, which last year threatened to march on Addis Ababa, by December had withdrawn to its stronghold, and the government has not pursued the rebels further on the ground.

Feltman had also sought to tackle the crisis in Sudan, but he was treated unceremoniously in October when Sudan’s military ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, carried out a coup just after the US envoy had left the country.

Feltman’s resignation came days after Sudan’s civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, quit, leaving Burhan as the undisputed leader of the country despite Western calls to preserve a democratic transition launched in 2019.

 

AFP

AFCON Match Preview: Nigeria Eye Knockout Spot Against Sudan

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria face Sudan in their second Group D match at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Saturday, eyeing a berth at the knockout stage of the biennial soccer competition.

Nigeria, three-time AFCON winners, had gotten off to a good start in the tournament following a 1-0 victory over record-holders Egypt in their first tie a few days back.

Three points against the Falcons of Jediane at the Estadio Roumde Adjia, Garoua, will see the 2013 champions book a spot in the round of 16.

Nigeria’s preparation for the competition had been marred with tussles over the release of players.

While Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, was left out based on health grounds; Watford did not release in-form forward, Emmanuel Dennis, a development that raised concerns among fans.

READ ALSO: [Egypt, Sudan, And Guinea-Bissau] How Tough Is Nigeria’s AFCON Group?

Aside from player availability, the sacking of long-time coach, Gernot Rohr, less than two months before the tournament also cast doubt on Nigeria’s participation. In his stead, former international, Austin Eguaveon, was named to handle the side.

But in their first game on Tuesday, the Eagles deservedly defeated the record-winners 1-0 after a dominant display.

Nigeria Key Men And Team News

Super Eagles Of Nigeria
(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, defender Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Moses Simon and forward Samuel Chukwueze pose prior to the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022.
Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

Eguaveon’s side have an abundance of attacking options to do the damage against Sudan. Iheanacho is expected to continue his goalscoring form in Saturday’s game while winger, Simon Moses, who was a thorn to the Egyptian defence in the first match, has his work cut out for the day.

Midfielder Joe Aribo – the provider of the assist for the goal against Egypt –  will carry much of the team’s creative weight while Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi shields the defence.

Ahmed Musa, the team’s captain, who missed the first game, could have a chance of adding to his international cap.

‘Completely Focussed’

But there might not be a change of guard to the lineup that featured against Egypt.  Defender Kenneth Omeruo is also expected to be fit for the match after he was stretchered off the pitch on Tuesday.

In a pre-match briefing, Eguaveon said the Super Eagles will not be carried away with the win against Egypt.

“I am happy with the players and their ability to give their best on the pitch. I am focused on winning against Sudan at the moment,” the 1994 AFCON winner said.

“I am not thinking about anything else or how we will start our third match. We are completely focused on our match against Sudan. Beating Egypt was not easy, and we are looking forward to continuing our victories and qualifying for the next round.”

Sudan 

Sudan’s best performance at the AFCON in recent times was a quarter-final finish in 2012. [email protected]

 

The Super Eagles opponents are only returning to the continental fiesta since 2012 and will want to make a statement in a group containing some of Africa’s soccer heavyweights.

They hosted the maiden edition of the competition in 1957 and won the AFCON in 1970 also on home soil.

But a lull saw them miss the competition for 32 years, only to qualify in 2008 as Ghana hosted the continent.

In 2012, the Sudanese reached the quarter-finals of the biennial fiesta, one of their best outings in recent years.

En route to Cameroon, they earned 12 points from Group C, beating South Africa to finish second. They also scored nine goals in the qualification series.

But just weeks before the tournament, Hubert Velud was dismissed following the country’s poor outing at the 2021 Arab Cup. They lost all group games, conceded 10 goals but scored none.

The development, however, is not deterring new coach, Burhan Tia, who insists his young side should not be underrated.

“Our team is young, and we are building for the future. The spirit, ambition, and motivation will be our strong weapons in the tournament,” he said.

“There is nothing impossible in football. The group might be strong, but with good preparations and concentration we will be able to make it to the knockout stage.”

His team seem to be repaying his confidence in them as they battled hard to draw Guinea-Bissau in their first game. While Nigeria is a tougher opponent, the Falcons are hoping to give Nigeria a run for their money on Saturday.

Sudan Key Men And Team News

The Sudanese side will be missing the services of Mohamed Abdelrahman who netted a third of their goals during the qualifiers.

Ramadan Agab, and Nasr Eldin El Shigail are the other men the Falcons of Jediane will rely on to cause a major upset against Nigeria. Sudan are ranked 33rd in Africa and 125 in the world.

Opportunity For Youngstars 

Tia will be banking on goalkeeper Ali Abu Ashren to continue his fine form when the match kicks off at the Roumde Adjia, Garoua. His sterling showing in the first fixture helped the Falcons earn a point against Guinea-Bissau.

Although Coach Tia admitted that Sudan will miss Rahman, the team, he noted, can spring a surprise.

“We play with a great team with high-level stars, but we will play with a balance between defense and attack,” the coach told CAF ahead of the game.

“The absence of Mohamed Abdel Rahman is impressive, but we have a number of young players waiting for an opportunity to appear.”

Nigeria vs Sudan Head-To Head

Nigeria and Sudan have met 14 times at the international level out of which the Super Eagles won eight. Two of the games were draws while the North Africans have won twice.

Nigeria Vs Sudan Match Time

The game between Nigeria and Sudan at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) will start at 5:00 pm (WAT).

Hundreds Rally In Sudan Against Military Rule As Security Tightens

This picture taken on January 4, 2022 shows a view of demonstrators by a flaming tire at a make-shift barricade erected during a protest demanding civilian rule in the “Street 40” of the Sudanese capital’s twin city of Omdurman. (Photo by AFP)

 

Hundreds of Sudanese anti-coup protesters rallied Tuesday chanting slogans against the military as security forces deployed in Khartoum and neighbouring cities, witnesses said, days after the resignation of the country’s civilian premier.

Protesters shouted “No, no to military rule” and called for the fall of Sudan’s ruling council headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who led a military coup on October 25 that derailed a transition to civilian rule.

Streets leading to the presidential palace and army headquarters in central Khartoum were sealed off amid a heavy presence of riot police, paramilitary forces and army personnel, the witnesses said.

Dozens also gathered in the neighbouring city of Omdurman and barricaded streets using rocks and bricks.

Pro-democracy activists have stepped up calls for demonstrations since the October coup which saw then-prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and cabinet ministers detained.

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The coup has triggered mass demonstrations and a violent crackdown that has so far left at least 57 dead and hundreds wounded, an independent union of medics has said.

At least 13 women have allegedly been raped during the unrest, according to the United Nations.

On November 21, Burhan reinstated Hamdok in an agreement promising elections in mid-2023, but the protest movement slammed the deal as “betrayal” and has kept up street pressure.

Late Sunday, Hamdok announced that he was stepping down, saying he had tried to prevent the country “from sliding toward disaster” but that it was now at a “dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival”.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Tuesday that he “respects” Hamdok’s decision and called for “urgent action” to resolve the crisis.

The United Nations’ secretary-general “regrets that a political understanding on the way forward is not in place despite the gravity of the situation in Sudan”, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

Sudan has been navigating a fragile transition towards full civilian rule since the April 2019 ouster of veteran president Omar al-Bashir following an unprecedented wave of youth-led protests.

Activists online have urged demonstrators to head to the presidential palace in Khartoum “until victory is achieved”, according to the Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella of unions that were instrumental during the anti-Bashir protests.

General Burhan last month issued a decree allowing security forces to arrest individuals “over crimes related to the state of emergency”, effectively banning street protests.

Security forces are allowed to enter and search “any building or individual” and impose “surveillance of any property and facility”.

Since the coup, authorities have often disrupted internet services and communication lines to prevent mass gatherings.

Sudan’s PM Resigns Amid Crackdown On Protesters 

This file photo taken on December 4, 2019, shows Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok smiling during a meeting at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC during an official visit to the United States.  JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Sudan’s civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned Sunday, more than two months after a coup and following another deadly crackdown on protesters, with the military now firmly in control.

Sudan had been undergoing a fragile journey toward civilian rule since the 2019 ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir but was plunged into turmoil when military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan launched his coup on October 25 and detained Hamdok.

Hamdok was reinstated on November 21 under a deal promising elections for mid-2023, but local media had recently reported he had been absent from his office for days, with rumours swirling over his possible resignation.

“I have tried my best to stop the country from sliding towards disaster,” Hamdok said Sunday evening, addressing the nation on state television.

Sudan “is crossing a dangerous turning point that threatens its whole survival,” he said.

Hamdok was the civilian face of the country’s fragile transition, while Burhan has been the country’s de facto leader following Bashir’s ouster.

Hamdok cited “the fragmentation of the political forces and conflicts between the (military and civilian) components of the transition” and said that “despite everything that has been done to reach a consensus… it has not happened”.

Mass protests against the coup have continued even after Hamdok was reinstated, as demonstrators have distrusted veteran general Burhan and his promise to guide the country toward full democracy.

Protesters have also charged that the deal to reinstate Hamdok simply aimed to give a cloak of legitimacy to the generals, whom they accuse of trying to continue the regime built by Bashir.

‘No To Military Rule’ 

Thousands of demonstrators on Sunday braved tear gas, a heavy troop deployment, and a telecommunications blackout to demand a civilian government.

They lambasted the coup, shouting “power to the people” and demanding the military return to the barracks, at protests near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum and in its twin city Omdurman.

The pro-democracy Doctors’ Committee said security forces killed three protesters, including one who was shot in the chest and another who suffered a “severe head wound”.

As with previous demonstrations, which have become regular since the coup, the authorities had erected roadblocks, with shipping containers blocking Nile River bridges between the capital and outlying areas.

But thousands still came out to demonstrate “in memory of the martyrs”, with at least 57 protesters now killed since the coup, according to pro-democracy medics.

Young men on motorcycles were seen ferrying wounded protesters to hospitals as security forces blocked ambulances from reaching them.

Web monitoring group NetBlocks said mobile internet services were cut from mid-morning ahead of the protests, the first of the year. They were restored in the evening.

Activists use the internet for organising demonstrations and broadcasting live footage of the rallies.

Protests since the army’s takeover have been repeatedly broken up by security forces firing rounds of tear gas, as well as charges by police wielding batons.

 ‘Year of Resistance’ 

Sudan has a long history of military takeovers, but Burhan has insisted the armed forces’ move “was not a coup” but a push to “rectify the course of the transition”.

On Friday an official advisor warned that the demonstrations are “a waste of energy and time” which will not produce “any political solution”.

Activists have said on social media that 2022 will be “the year of the continuation of the resistance”.

They demand justice for those killed since the coup as well as the more than 250 who died during the months of mass protests that paved the way for the toppling of Bashir.

Activists have also condemned sexual attacks during December 19 protests, in which the UN said at least 13 women and girls were victims of rape or gang-rape.

The European Union and the United States issued a joint statement condemning the use of sexual violence “as a weapon to drive women away from demonstrations and silence their voices”.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Washington was “prepared to respond to those who seek to block the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a civilian-led, democratic government and who would stand in the way of accountability, justice, and peace”.

Over 14 million people, one in three Sudanese, will need humanitarian aid during the coming year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs — the highest level for a decade.

AFP

More Than 30 Killed In Sudan Gold Mine Collapse

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.

 

At least 31 miners were killed and eight missing in Sudan on Tuesday when a rudimentary gold mine collapsed, a government official said.

The disaster occurred near Nuhud, a town about 500 kilometres (310 miles) west of Khartoum, said Khaled Dahwa, the head of the state-run Mineral Resources Company in West Kordofan.

“Thirty-one traditional miners were killed because of a mine collapsing,” he told AFP, adding one person survived and eight others were still missing.

Another official at the company said four miners were killed at the same mine in January.

“Authorities at the time shut down the mine and installed security but a couple of months ago they left,” he said.

Artisanal gold mining is a dangerous profession in Sudan largely due to ramshackle infrastructure.

It flourished around a decade ago in various parts of country, with people digging the ground using excavators in hopes of unearthing the precious metal.

About two million artisanal miners produce about 80 percent of the country’s annual gold production of around 80 tonnes, according to official figures.

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has recently suffered runaway inflation and embarked on tough economic reforms, including slashing subsidies on petrol and diesel and launching a managed currency float.

It is also reeling from political turbulence in the wake of a coup led military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25.

Thousands Rally In Sudan 3 Years After People Power Revolt Started

Sudanese youths raise national flags as they rally against the military chief who launched an October 25 coup followed by a bloody crackdown, in the northern part of the capital Khartoum, on December 19, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

 

Thousands of Sudanese protesters rallied Sunday to mark three years since the start of mass demonstrations that led to the ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir, as fears mount for the democratic transition.

Authorities shut off bridges linking the capital Khartoum with its twin city Omdurman in anticipation of a large turnout.

Political parties and neighbourhood committees had said they were mobilising people to demonstrate against military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who launched an October 25 coup followed by a bloody crackdown.

Thousands turned out in both Khartoum and Omdurman Sunday, shouting slogans against Burhan and his deputy Mohamed Daglo, also known as Hemeti, witnesses said.

The generals had initially detained civilian leader Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, but reinstated him on November 21.

The move alienated many of Hamdok’s pro-democracy supporters, who dismissed it as providing a cloak of legitimacy for Burhan’s coup.

Hamdok, who has argued he wants to avoid further bloodshed, warned in a late Saturday statement of “the country’s slide toward the abyss,” urging restraint from the protesters.

“We’re facing today a sizeable regression in the path of our revolution that threatens the security of the nation, its unity and its stability,” he said.

Protest organisers have however vowed, in a key slogan, “No negotiation, no partnership and no legitimacy”.

Previous protests against the military takeover have been forcibly dispersed by the security forces. Nationwide, at least 45 people have been killed and scores more wounded, according to the independent Doctors’ Committee.

– Military in ‘complete control’ –

December 19 has a particular resonance in Sudanese history.

Not only was it the day in 2018 when thousands launched mass protests that ended Bashir’s three decades in power, it was also the day in 1955 when Sudanese lawmakers declared independence from British colonial rule.

Following Bashir’s ouster, a joint military-civilian transitional government took power but the troubled alliance was shattered by Burhan’s coup.

“The coup has put obstacles in the way of the democratic transition and has given the military complete control over politics and the economy,” Ashraf Abdel-Aziz, chief editor of the independent Al-Jarida newspaper, told AFP.

Sudan’s military dominates lucrative companies specialising in everything from agriculture to infrastructure projects.

The prime minister said last year that 80 percent of the state’s resources were “outside the finance ministry’s control”.

“The security apparatus has won out over political institutions. The success of a democratic transition rests on political action being the driving force,” Abdel-Aziz said.

Khaled Omer, a minister in the ousted government, said the coup was a “catastrophe” but also “an opportunity to rectify the deficiencies” of the previous political arrangement with the army.

He warned that anything could happen over the next few months with the military still firmly in power.

“If the main political actors don’t get their act together and the miliary establishment doesn’t distance itself from politics… then all scenarios are on the table,” Omer said.

– Gains unravelling –

The November 21 agreement also set July 2023 as the date for Sudan’s first free elections since 1986.

Hamdok said he partnered with the military to “stop the bloodshed” that resulted from its crackdown on protests, and so as not to “squander the gains of the last two years”.

But those achievements have been unravelling, as the political turbulence in Khartoum rekindles conflicts in Sudan’s far-flung regions that Hamdok’s government had made a priority to resolve.

A peace deal it signed with key rebel groups in South Sudan’s capital Juba last year saw the main conflict in Darfur subside, but the region remains awash with weapons and nearly 250 people have been killed in ethnic clashes over the past two months.

Some of the Arab militias — that Bashir’s government used as a counter-insurgency force in its infamous campaign in the early 2000s against ethnic minority rebels — have been integrated into the security apparatus.

Critics say the deal did nothing to bring them to account.

Sudan Police Fire Tear Gas As Thousands Protest

A Sudanese demonstrator lifts a national flag during a rally in Khartoum Bahri, on December 6, 2021, to protest a deal that saw the Prime Minister reinstated after his ouster in a military coup in October. AFP
A Sudanese demonstrator lifts a national flag during a rally in Khartoum Bahri, on December 6, 2021, to protest a deal that saw the Prime Minister reinstated after his ouster in a military coup in October. AFP

 

Sudanese police fired tear gas on Monday as thousands of protesters rallied against the military-dominated government near the presidential palace in Khartoum, witnesses told AFP.

Separately in the country’s far-west, an official and medics said close to 50 people had been killed in a flareup of tribal violence.

The Khartoum demonstrators marched from various districts of the capital, many carrying national flags or chanting, “No to military rule” and, “The army might betray you, but the street will never betray you.”

READ ALSO: Western Countries Are Hypocrites, Says Ramaphosa

Protesters, in the latest of many rallies in recent weeks, set up road barricades with rocks and burning car tyres, the black smoke billowing into the sky.

Following an October 25 coup, previous protests were met by a violent crackdown that left 44 people killed up to November 22, a pro-democracy doctors’ union said. Hundreds more were wounded, mostly by bullets.

Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok but, after international condemnation and mass protests, reinstated him in a deal signed on November 21.

Critics lambasted the agreement and pro-democracy activists vowed to maintain pressure on the military-civilian authority.

“Mr Hamdok betrayed the roadmap” of the transition, said Mahmoud Abidine, demonstrating in the centre of Khartoum.

“What happened is a typical example of a military coup d’etat because it was followed by arrests, killings in the street, and against it are only young people asking for freedom, democracy and a civilian regime,” he said.

Darfur dead

The top general has long insisted the military’s move was “not a coup” but a step “to rectify the transition” towards full democracy that started with the 2019 ouster of autocratic president Omar al-Bashir.

Burhan has pledged to lead Sudan to “free and transparent elections” in July 2023.

Hamdok, prime minister in the transitional government, has defended the deal, which he signed after his release from effective house arrest.

He has said he partnered with the military to “stop the bloodshed” that resulted from crackdowns on anti-coup street protests, and so as not to “squander the gains of the last two years”.

But the new transitional council named on November 21 excluded representatives of the main bloc that spearheaded anti-Bashir protests and had been demanding a transfer to full civilian rule.

Rawiya Hamed, another protester, said she joined Monday’s demonstration to “say again that we refuse the agreement between the military and Hamdok”.

The military and paramilitary leaders “don’t care about the country”, she said, a colourful covering on her head.

In West Darfur state, near Chad, at least 46 people died on Saturday and Sunday in violence that escalated after an argument, the state’s Governor Khamis Abdallah told AFP.

The Doctors’ Committee, an independent union, gave a figure of 48 people killed in the Krink area of Darfur by live ammunition.

That brings to around 100 the number of people killed over about three weeks in Sudan’s westernmost region, which has been ravaged by unrest for years.

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has also suffered runaway inflation and embarked on tough economic reforms, including slashing subsidies on petrol and diesel and launching a managed currency float.

Those measures came as part of efforts to secure global debt relief.

But the coup sparked international condemnation and punitive measures by Western governments and the World Bank, imperilling the country’s access to aid and investment.

Thirty percent of Sudan’s population will need humanitarian aid next year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned in a report Monday, saying the rate is “the highest in a decade”.

It blamed the situation on Khartoum’s economic crisis and the Covid pandemic, floods and disease and the fact Sudan also hosts millions of refugees and internally displaced people.

 

AFP

Ethiopia Denies Attack On Sudan, Blames Rebels For Unrest

In this file photo taken on August 01, 2019 Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gives a press conference at the Prime Minister’s office in the capital, Addis Ababa. MICHAEL TEWELDE / AFP

 

Ethiopia has denied it staged an attack over the weekend along its shared border with Sudan, blaming unrest in the disputed zone on rebels from its war-hit Tigray region.

On Saturday Sudan’s military said “several” soldiers had been killed in an attack by armed groups and militias linked to the Ethiopian military in the fertile expanse known as Al-Fashaqa.

The area has long been a source of tension between Addis Ababa and Khartoum, sparking deadly clashes over the last year.

But in comments that aired on state media Sunday, Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu dismissed claims the military had attacked Sudan as “groundless”.

Instead, he blamed the violence on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the insurgent group that has been locked in a gruesome war against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government since November 2020 and claims to be approaching the capital Addis Ababa.

“A large group of insurgents, bandits and terrorists had entered [from Sudan],” Legesse said in comments aired by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, without providing evidence.

“The Ethiopian National Defense Force and the local militia have destroyed them,” he added.

Legesse also said the TPLF was training in Sudan and receiving support from unspecified “foreign backers”.

The land in Al-Fashaqa has for years been cultivated by Ethiopian farmers, though Sudan claims it falls within its territory.

In November 2020, around the time Abiy sent troops into Tigray to oust the TPLF, Khartoum stationed troops in Al-Fashaqa, a move Addis Ababa has described as an invasion.

Yet Legesse said Ethiopia was keen to resolve the matter peacefully.

“The Ethiopian National Defence Force doesn’t have an agenda to open an attack on any sovereign country,” he said, referring to the military.

“There is land that the Sudanese forces have invaded. The government is sitting down to resolve [the dispute] in a peaceful process, through dialogue and negotiation.”

 Ethiopia claims advance

The war in northern Ethiopia has killed thousands of people and driven hundreds of thousands more into famine-like conditions, according to UN estimates.

Last week Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, announced he would head to the front to lead operations against the TPLF.

On Sunday state media reported that the military and special forces from the Afar region had taken control of the town of Chifra.

The area around Chifra has been the site of fierce fighting in recent weeks, with the TPLF apparently trying to seize control of a critical highway that brings goods into Addis Ababa.

A TPLF source disputed the state media report Monday, saying “active fighting is going on”.

AFP

Sudanese Security Forces Fire Tear Gas At Anti-Coup Protests

Sudanese protesters gather in the busy Jabra district of southern Khartoum on November 25, 2021. Thousands of Sudanese protesters rallied today against last month's military power grab, rejecting an agreement struck between the top general that saw the prime minister reinstated, witnesses said. AFP
Sudanese protesters gather in the busy Jabra district of southern Khartoum on November 25, 2021. Thousands of Sudanese protesters rallied today against last month’s military power grab, rejecting an agreement struck between the top general that saw the prime minister reinstated, witnesses said. AFP

 

Sudanese security forces fired tear gas Thursday at thousands of protesters who rallied against a deal that saw the prime minister reinstated after his ouster in a military coup last month, witnesses said.

Demonstrators in the capital, Khartoum, chanted “the people want the downfall of the regime” while in the capital’s twin city Omdurman others shouted “power to the people, a civilian government is the people’s choice”.

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Omdurman as well as in the central state of North Kordofan and in North Darfur, witnesses said.

READ ALSO: Egypt Sentences 22 Militants To Death By Hanging

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan seized power and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on October 25, but after international condemnation and mass protests he reinstated the premier in a deal they signed on Sunday.

Thursday marked a month since the military coup.

“I initially went out to protest to demand retribution for people killed after the coup, and now I am protesting against the Burhan-Hamdok deal,” protester Soheir Hamad told AFP in south Khartoum.

This deal “blocks the way toward a full civilian rule. We don’t want the military to play a role in politics”, she said.

Protests also broke out in other states including Wad Madani, Kassala, and the western Darfur region, according to witnesses.

Protest organisers have dubbed Thursday as “Martyr’s day”, to pay tribute to the 42 people killed, according to medics, in the deadly crackdown against anti-coup demonstrators.

By nightfall, demonstrations in Khartoum and other cities began to thin out, according to witnesses.

‘Stop the bloodshed’

Pro-democracy activists in Sudan have accused Hamdok of “betrayal” and vowed to maintain pressure on the military-civilian authority.

Hamdok, who has been prime minister in the transitional government since the ouster of long-time autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019, has defended the deal.

He said on Wednesday he had partnered with the military to “stop the bloodshed” and to “not squander the gains of the last two years”.

Protesters in North Khartoum slammed him, chanting “Hamdok is weak but the streets are powerful” and “Burhan is dirty” and has been “brought to power by Islamists”, connected to Bashir’s regime.

At one demonstration in Khartoum, protester Sediq al-Zubair said Hamdok’s partnership with the military is a “stab in the back of the revolution” that ousted Bashir.

Another protester, Amany Abdalla, said “we have no problem with Hamdok” but “we don’t want the military, we want a purely civilian” rule.

Ahead of Thursday’s protests, Hamdok met with senior police officials and urged them to secure the protests.

Volker Perthes, the UN special envoy to Sudan who helped mediate between the military and civilian factions after the coup, said Wednesday that the rallies were “another test of credibility” of the agreement.

He urged authorities to allow demonstrations to go ahead “without bloodshed or arbitrary arrests”.

Hamdok also said the agreement with Burhan has outlined a “clear date” for Sudan’s first free elections in three decades slated for July 2023.

Sunday’s deal raised hopes that Sudan will be able to return to its tenuous transition process but critics slammed the agreement as “whitewashing” the coup.

About 12 out 17 ministers from Sudan’s main civilian bloc calling for a full civilian rule, who were part of Hamdok’s cabinet before the coup, resigned Monday saying they rejected the deal which “legitimises the coup regime”.

Meanwhile, the agreement was welcomed by the United Nations, African Union, Western countries as well as Arab powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have strong ties with the Sudanese military.

Several civilian leaders who were arrested since the coup were released this week but key figures have remained in detention.

Perthes welcomed the releases but said “if the ‘political agreement’ is to be taken seriously, all detainees should be released immediately”.

35 Killed In Clashes In Sudan’s Darfur

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.

 

At least 35 people have been killed in days of fighting between herders in Sudan’s western Darfur region with more than a thousand homes set on fire, officials said Thursday.

The violence broke out on November 17 between armed Arab herders in the rugged Jebel Moon mountains close to the border with Chad, said Omar Abdelkarim, Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner in West Darfur state.

“The clashes left more than 35 people dead on both sides,” he told AFP. “Around 16 villages have been completely burned down”.

West Darfur governor Khamis Abdallah said the violence was sparked by “a dispute over camel looting”, and that “military reinforcements have been sent to the area and the situation has stabilised.”

Some people have fled west seeking safety across the border to Chad, he added.

Darfur was ravaged by a civil war that erupted in 2003, that pitted ethnic minority rebels complaining of discrimination against the Arab-dominated government of Omar al-Bashir.

READ ALSO: Libya Elders Call For Boycott Of Presidential Poll Over Kadhafi’s Bid

More than 300,000 people died and 2.5 million were displaced, according to the United Nations.

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide in Darfur, was ousted and jailed in April 2019 following mass protests against his three-decade rule.

While the main conflict in Darfur has subsided, with a peace deal struck with key rebel groups last year, the arid region has remained awash with weapons and violence often erupts over land, access to agriculture, or water.

A UN peacekeeping mission wound up in the Darfur last year.

The latest clashes come against a backdrop of political turbulence, as Sudan reels from the aftermath of a military coup last month that drew wide international condemnation and sparked mass protests.

On October 25, top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan overthrew the country’s post-Bashir transitional government and detained the civilian leadership.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was freed from effective house arrest and reinstated, after signing a deal with Burhan that was viewed by critics as “whitewashing” the coup.

AFP

Sudan PM Hamdok Reinstated After Coup

This file photo taken on December 4, 2019, shows Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok smiling during a meeting at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC during an official visit to the United States.  JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Sudan’s deposed prime minister and the top general that ousted him a month ago signed a breakthrough deal Sunday to reverse the military takeover, but protests continued and a teenager was killed.

Thousands of demonstrators in multiple rallies rejected the deal, shouting “No to military power” and demanding the armed forces fully withdraw from government.

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman, medics said, bringing the overall death toll since last month’s coup to 41.

Several other people suffered gunshot wounds after clashes with security forces, they added.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan appeared at the presidential palace in Khartoum for a televised ceremony with a haggard looking premier Abdalla Hamdok, emerging from weeks of house arrest.

The 14-point deal they signed officially restores the transition to civilian rule that had been derailed by the October 25 putsch in the poverty-stricken African country.

The agreement, which comes after crisis talks involving Sudanese, UN, African and Western players, stated that Burhan’s decision “to relieve the transitional prime minister (of his duties) is cancelled”.

It said all political detainees would be freed, and formally relaunched the fragile transition process towards full democracy that started after the 2019 ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

 ‘Confidence measures’ 

Hamdok praised the people power “revolution” that brought him to government and declared the top priority now was to “stop the bloodshed in Sudan before anything else”.

“We leave the choice of who rules Sudan to its mighty people,” he said.

Burhan thanked Hamdok for his service and vowed that “free and transparent elections” would be held as part of the transition process.

“He was patient with us until we reached this moment,” Burhan said before posing for photos with the reinstated premier and his own deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

The deal was welcomed by the African Union, the United Nations, Sweden as well as Saudi Arabia and Egypt who have strong ties with the Sudanese military.

The African Union said it was “an important step towards the return to constitutional order”.

The UN stressed the “need to protect the constitutional order to safeguard the basic freedoms of political action, freedom of speech and peaceful assembly”.

Norway, which has been involved in crisis talks since the coup, called for “concrete confidence-building measures”.

‘Safeguard freedoms’ 

But thousands rallied again in Khartoum and across Sudan on Sunday, and were confronted in the capital by security forces who fired tear gas.

Police deny firing live ammunition and insist they have used “minimum force” to disperse the protests. They have recorded only one death among demonstrators, in north Khartoum.

The main civilian bloc which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests and signed the 2019 power-sharing deal with the military strongly rejected Sunday’s agreement.

“We affirm our clear and previously declared position that there is no negotiation, no partnership, no legitimacy for the coup,” said the mainstream faction of the Forces for Freedom and Change.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, an umbrella of unions instrumental in bringing down Bashir, described Sunday’s agreement as “political suicide” for Hamdok.

At one north Khartoum rally, protesters also chanted anti-Hamdok slogans and ripped up his portrait. “Hamdok is weak but the streets are powerful,” they shouted.

“Hamdok has truly let down the people,” said protester Mohamed Abdelnabi. “This deal doesn’t represent the Sudanese people.”

Thousands also rallied in Omdurman, as well as in the eastern state of Kassala, the restive eastern coastal city of Port Sudan and the northern city of Atbara, witnesses said.

History of coups 

Sudan, which is mired in a dire economic crisis, has a long history of military coups, having enjoyed only rare interludes of democratic rule since independence in 1956.

The return of Hamdok, a British-educated economist who has worked for the United Nations and African organisations, has been a key demand of the international community.

Burhan, who served under Bashir’s three-decades long rule, become Sudan’s de facto leader after the army ousted and jailed the president following months of huge street protests.

The veteran general has headed a Sovereign Council of military and civilian figures, with Hamdok as prime minister leading the cabinet.

But long-simmering tensions between the military and civilian sides marred the transition, until Burhan last month staged the army takeover.

Burhan has insisted the military’s move “was not a coup” but a step “to rectify the transition”.

Earlier this month, he announced a new ruling council in which he kept his position as head, along with Daglo, three senior military figures, three ex-rebel leaders and a civilian.

The other four civilian members were replaced with lesser known figures.

AFP