Sudan News & Discussions

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Sudanese students stone police on third day of bread price protests
Written by Reuters, Tuesday, 09 January 2018

Hundreds of Sudanese students on Monday threw rocks at riot police and were met with tear gas salvoes on the third consecutive days of protests over a doubling in bread prices, witnesses said.

They said police formed a cordon to force more than 300 marchers onto the campus of Khartoum University, the largest in Sudan, and continued to fire tear gas at students chanting, “No, no, no to price rises!”

A smaller number of protesters gathered in Kosti, Sudan’s biggest Nile river port 350 km (217 miles) south of the capital, but were dispersed by baton-wielding police.

Street protests broke out across the sprawling northeastern African country after bread prices doubled following a government announcement late last month that it was eliminating subsidies in its 2018 budget.

A high school student was killed and six others wounded on Sunday in the southwestern city of Geneina. Authorities did not give a cause of death but said investigations were under way

This month Sudan devalued its pound currency to 18 per U.S. dollar from 6.7 pounds to the dollar previously.

Amid the continuing unrest, the exchange rate on the black market hit about 29.5 pounds to the dollar on Monday, compared with 28 pounds to the dollar a day before.

State Minister of Interior Babkar Daqna denied that the demonstrations were in response to price rises and said that destructive protesters would be “dealt with forcefully”, state news agency SUNA reported on Sunday.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50334:sudanese-students-stone-police-on-third-day-of-bread-price-protests&catid=3:Civil Security&Itemid=113
 

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Teargas used on stone-throwing Sudan protesters
Written by Reuters,
11 January 2018

Police in the capital of Sudan fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing students protesting a doubling of bread prices.

Police vehicles sealed off main roads leading to the university, forcing about 400 demonstrators onto the campus of Khartoum University and fired tear gas at students who chanted “No, no to price rises”.

Street protests broke out across the north-east African country after bread prices doubled following a government announcement late last month it was eliminating subsidies in its 2018 budget.

A high school student was killed and six others wounded on Sunday in Geneina.

Sudan this month devalued its pound currency to 18 per US dollar from 6.7 previously.

Hard currency remains scarce in the formal banking system, forcing importers to resort to an increasingly expensive black market.

Amid continuing unrest, the currency weakened to 30.5 pounds to the dollar on Tuesday on the black market, compared with 29.5 on Monday.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday, State Minister for Finance Magdi Hassan Yassin called price rises the result of “black market manipulation of the exchange rate” and said the ministry and central bank were working to shut it down, without specifying how.

Annual inflation stood at 24.76% in November, the latest available statistic.

Government ruled out floating its currency, a measure the International Monetary Fund urged it to take as part of broader reforms it says are needed to attract investment and revive a reeling economy.

“The rise in prices is not related to the devaluation of the official exchange rate from 6.7 pounds to 18 pounds, because there have been government efforts to reduce the prices of staple consumer goods,” Yassin said.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50362:teargas-used-on-stone-throwing-sudan-protesters&catid=52:Human Security&Itemid=114
 

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Sudanese protesters teargassed, arrested
by Reuters,
17 January 2018

Sudanese police fired tear gas, hit demonstrators with batons and arrested several people at a protest against soaring living costs in Khartoum.

Several hundred demonstrators gathered on a street near the presidential palace, chanting against rising prices and calling for a change of government before clashes broke out, a Reuters reporter said.

Protests and clashes with security forces broke out across the country early this month after Khartoum imposed tough economic measures in line with recommendations by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The African nation devalued its currency to 18 Sudanese pounds for one US dollar, from a rate of 6.7 pounds in 2017. It also cut wheat subsidies, causing a doubling of bread prices.

The Sudanese pound hit an all-time low on the black market at 34 to the dollar on Monday amid a foreign currency shortage that has crippled the economy.

Sudan’s economy has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it 75% of its oil output. The United States lifted 20-year-old sanctions in October and the IMF has since advised it to embark on reforms including a currency float.

Sudan has ruled out floating the pound.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50409:sudanese-protesters-teargassed-arrested&catid=52:Human Security&Itemid=114
 

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Seven dead in Sudan protests
Written by Reuters -
9th Apr 2019

Six people were killed in the Sudanese capital Khartoum during protests on Saturday and Sunday and another died in Darfur, the interior minister told parliament.

Bishara Jumaa said in a statement, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, 15 civilians and 42 members of the security forces were injured in protests and 2,496 protesters were arrested in Khartoum.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/human-security/seven-dead-in-sudan-protests/
 

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APRIL 24, 2019
African Union extends deadline for Sudanese military to relinquish state power
By Darryl Coote


Leaders of the African Union in Cairo, Egypt, extended their organization's original 15-day deadline on the ruling Sudanese Transitional Military Council to relinquish power to its public. Photo courtesy of African Union Commission

April 24 (UPI) -- The African Union gave the Sudanese military three months to hand over power of the country to civil society or be suspended from the regional organ, altering its original 15-day ultimatum.

African Union leaders in Egypt Tuesday gave Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council a further three months to relinquish power, extending the two-week deal the Peace and Security of the African Union Council had giventhe military on April 15.

In a joint statement, the leaders of Egypt, Chard Djibouti, Somalia, South Arica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Uganda said they recognized more time was needed.

"The participating countries recognize the need to give more time to the Sudanese authorities and the Sudanese parties to implement these measures, taking into consideration that they will not be lengthy, and recommended that the African Peace and Security Council extend the schedule given the Sudanese authority for three months," the leaders jointly said in the statement.

The Transitional Military Council had previously said it would require two years before it could release the country's reins, which prompted the regional organ's peace and security arm April 15 to give its 15-day deadline, stating it "strongly condemns and totally rejects the seizure of power by the Sudanese military and its plan to lead the transition for two years."

The Transitional Military Council gained control of Sudan April 11, after it overthrew the country's 30-year leader, Omar al-Bashir, in a coup.

Protesters, who urged the military from December to topple the government, have vowed to continue demonstrations out front of army headquarters in the capital Khartoum until the military hands power to the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change.

The relationship between opposition and ruling forces has been souring since the coup. On Monday, the Declaration of Freedom and Change cutcommunication with the Transitional Military Council as the ruling power would not recognize it as the voice of the public while considering other forces as potential leaders of a future transitional government.

The opposition views the stance by the military as an attempt to put the old guard back at the helm of the country.

Meanwhile, the military demanded Tuesday for protesters to stop hindering citizens' movement and traffic.

On Tuesday, the African Union leaders stressed the two forces need to come together in good faith to fix the current situation, while emphasizing the dialogue should be controlled by all Sudanese, including the military and protesters.

African Union extends deadline for Sudanese military to relinquish state power
 

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Documents show a Russian company's plan for quelling protests in Sudan
By Tim Lister, Sebastian Shukla and Nima Elbagir, CNN
25-04-2019

When anti-government protests erupted in Sudan at the end of last year, the response of President Omar al-Bashir came straight from the dictators' playbook -- a crackdown that led to scores of civilian deaths.

At the same time, a more insidious strategy was being developed -- one that involved spreading misinformation on social media, blaming Israel for fomenting the unrest, and even carrying out public executions to make an example of "looters."

The author of this strategy was not the Sudanese government. According to documents seen by CNN, it was drawn up by a Russian company tied to an oligarch favored by the Kremlin: Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Multiple government and military sources in Khartoum have confirmed to CNN that Bashir's government received the proposals and began to act on them, before Bashir was deposed in a coup earlier this month. One official of the former regime said Russian advisers monitored the protests and began devising a plan to counter them with what he called "minimal but acceptable loss of life."

While the documents do not come from official Russian agencies, they were essentially a blueprint for protecting the Kremlin's interests in Sudan and keeping Bashir in power.

The documents seen by CNN, which include letters and internal company communications, are among several thousand obtained and investigated by the London-based Dossier Center, run by exiled Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The Dossier Center receives data, documents and other information from a variety of sources, often anonymous, and shares them with journalists. Khodorkovsky ran afoul of President Vladimir Putin after alleging widespread corruption in Russia and spent several years in prison for alleged tax fraud -- which he has always denied.

CNN has assessed the documents to be credible. They are also consistent with the accounts of witnesses who say Russian observers were seen at the recent protests in Sudan.
Police fired tear gas at protesters demonstrators in Khartoum in December.


Police fired tear gas at protesters demonstrators in Khartoum in December.

Sudan has been Moscow's template for expanding its influence in Africa and around the globe: A hybrid of private and state interests that rewards both oligarchs and the Kremlin. It's a low-cost strategy that gives Moscow a foothold in strategic places, without the commitment of regular forces or major investment by the Russian government. Instead it uses companies that supply private contractors in return for commercial concessions.
Indeed, the documents seen by CNN originate from a St. Petersburg-based company, M-Invest, which has an office in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. M-Invest lists as its core business the "extraction of ores and sands of precious metals." As CNN has previously reported, the company was granted concessions for a gold mine in Sudan.

But its activities seem to have gone far beyond mining.

What the Dossier Center's documents show
President Bashir cultivated a close relationship with the Kremlin, visiting Moscow in 2017. Russia supplied modern Su-35 fighter jets in the same year. Put simply, Russia had placed a big bet on Bashir. As protests against the regime gathered steam, that bet was at risk.
According to the documents reviewed by CNN, M-Invest drew up a plan to discredit and suppress those protests.

One document from early January, reviewed by CNN, proposes spreading claims that protesters were attacking mosques and hospitals. It also suggested creating an image of demonstrators as "enemies of Islam and traditional values" by planting LGBT flags among them. And it proposed a social media campaign claiming that "Israel supports the protesters."
An extract from the documents details a plan to spread disinformation.


An extract from the documents details a plan to spread disinformation.

The strategy also suggested the government "simulate a dialogue with the opposition and demonstrate the openness of the government" in order to "isolate leaders of the protest and gain time."

M-Invest proposed ways to make the government look good -- through widely publicized "free distribution of bread, flour, grain, food."
But most of its focus was on the protests. It recommended fabricating evidence "of arson by protesters against mosques, hospitals and nurseries, [and] stealing grain from the public store."

It also suggested blaming the West for the protests and using "extensive media coverage of the interrogation of detainees, where they admit they arrived to organize civil war in Sudan." And it even proposed "public executions of looters and other spectacular events to distract the protest-minded audience."

CNN made multiple efforts to reach M-Invest. Its phone number in St. Petersburg did not work. An Arabic speaker answered a call to its office in Khartoum but hung up. CNN visited the address but was told the space was leased to a Russian company called Mir Gold.

Another company document recommends the arrest of protest leaders the day before demonstrations are due to take place -- and spreading disinformation by saying that protesters were being paid to take part. Also recommended: Show how "security forces detained a car with weapons, foreign currency, propaganda materials operated by foreign citizens."
Protests erupted in Sudan last December.

Protests erupted in Sudan last December.

M-Invest also proposed building social media teams to attack the protest movement, "starting disputes with users and voicing alternative agenda...The optimal number of accounts working in parallel -- 40-50."

In some ways the playbook is similar to that deployed by the Internet Research Agency, accused by US authorities of trying to disrupt the 2016 US election campaign.

Prigozhin -- kown as "Putin's chef" for the catering contracts he held with the Kremlin -- was one of 13 Russians charged as part of the investigation into Russian election interference by US special counsel Robert Mueller. The US alleges that fictitious social media sites were set up to polarize voters with inflammatory and, in some cases, fake information. Prigozhin has denied any involvement in election meddling, and has denied any connection to the Internet Research Agency. Calls to his main company, Concord Management and Consulting, went unanswered.

The documents reviewed by CNN do not indicate that official Russian security agencies were directly involved in trying to suppress the protests in Sudan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing in January: "We are informed that some employees of Russian private security firms, who have no relation to the Russian government authorities, are indeed working in Sudan. But their functions are limited to personnel training."

Time starts to run out
Sources in Khartoum have told CNN that Bashir's government did try to begin implementing some of M-Invest's plans.

For example, it began detaining students from the Darfur region and accused them of trying to foment civil war -- one of the ploys recommended by M-Invest. The sources say Russian advisers from a private company were placed in several ministries and the National Intelligence Service.
But it was too little, too late.

In a letter to Bashir, drafted on March 17, Prigozhin complained that the Sudanese government's "inaction" had "provoked the intensification of the crisis." And he added, with unknowing prescience: "The lack of active steps by the new government to overcome the crisis is likely to lead to even more serious political consequences."
One letter expressed concern that the plan had not been implemented.

One letter expressed concern that the plan had not been implemented.

Another letter from Prigozhin, dated April 6, praised the longtime Sudanese ruler as a "wise and far-sighted leader" but urged immediate economic reforms to solve the crisis.

Five days later, Bashir was deposed.

The military dimension
Sudan, a resource-rich nation which has borders with seven other countries, has been shunned by the West. Its Red Sea coast was of particular interest to Moscow, because of recent moves by the United States and China to establish a military presence in the region. Moscow has been eyeing the development of a naval base at Port Sudan.

Again, M-Invest was involved. In June 2018, it drafted a letter on behalf of Sudan's Military Industrial Corporation to push closer military links. It mentions a visit the previous month by the deputy commander of the Russian navy, Lt. Gen. Oleg Makarevich, which had discussed "the possibility of creating on the territory of the Republic of Sudan point of logistics ships of The Russian Navy."
M-Invest documents indicate the importance to Russia of a port in Sudan.

M-Invest documents indicate the importance to Russia of a port in Sudan.

The letter is addressed to Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian armed forces. Gerasimov is credited with promoting the use of alternative measures to military force -- including political and economic levers as well as influencing public opinion through social media -- to destabilize adversaries.

Yevgeny Prigozhin has been a pioneer and partner in Russia's hybrid strategy. Not only was the Internet Research Agency connected to his company Concord Management; he was also linked to a company, Evro Polis, which secured oil exploration rights in Syria. At the time, fighters of a company called Wagner, a private military contractor were also operating in Syria. As CNN has previously reported, Wagner is led by Dmitry Utkin, who is under US sanctions for assisting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Utkin has long been close to Prigozhin's inner circle

Prigozhin's sprawling business empire is difficult to unravel. But the mining concession on behalf of M-Invest in Sudan was signed by a director named Mikhail Potepkin. A man of the same name also co-owned a company called IT-Debugger with Anna Bogacheva, one of those named in

Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians as working for the Internet Research Agency.
Concord Catering General Director Yevgeny Prigozhin seen after the sixth meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council


Concord Catering General Director Yevgeny Prigozhin seen after the sixth meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council
Potepkin also identifies himself as a project manager for another company, Megaline, which is 50% owned by Prigozhin's holding company Concord, according to company records. In a note on Megaline's letterhead to Sudan's minerals ministry in 2017, he says that M-Invest "will enjoy all the necessary support of the Megaline Group."

CNN was unable to contact Potepkin.

M-Invest also signed a contract with the Russian Defense Ministry, seen by CNN, for the use of transport aircraft of the 223rd Flight. Between August 2018 and February 2019, two aircraft of the 223rd Flight made at least nine flights to Khartoum. One of those planes took Bashir on his controversial visit to Syria last December, the first by an Arab leader since the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011.

Russia has also reinforced its presence in the neighboring Central African Republic, sending convoys of supplies across the border.

Whether Sudan will remain central to Russian ambitions in Africa depends on the unfolding situation in Khartoum. Moscow will not give up easily. It has strong links with the Sudanese military, which is now in the driving seat -- even if Bashir, the man described by Prigozhin as a "wise and balanced politician," is now in a high-security prison.

CNN's Nima Elbagir reported from Khartoum. Nathan Hodge, Mary Ilyushina and Yasir Abdullah contributed to this report


 

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Sudan Military Council members resign
by Reuters -
25th Apr 2019

Three members of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council resigned, but the resignations have yet to be accepted, the TMC said.

Lieutenant-General Omar Zain al-Abideen who heads the TMC’s political committee was one who resigned, the TMC said in a statement. The others were Lieutenant-General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh and Lieutenant-General Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel.

The resignations came after the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, the main protest organiser, called for a million-strong march on Thursday. An SPA demands was for the three lieutenant-generals, Abideen, Fadeel and Sheikh, to be dismissed and tried over their alleged role in a crackdown that killed dozens of protesters.

Earlier on Wednesday evening, the opposition and TMC agreed to form a committee to resolve their disagreements, amid tensions over how long it will take to move to civilian rule after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

“We are partners working to bring Sudan to safety,” TMC spokesman Shams El Din Kabbashi said on state TV following a meeting with the umbrella group Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which includes the SPA. The TMC invited the opposition to the talks, saying “the doors of dialogue and negotiation are open.”

The opposition movement voiced a willingness to participate.

“The Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change responded to the invitation and will listen with an open mind to what the president of the military council will propose, asserting our desire is peaceful transfer to a transitional civilian authority that reflects the forces of the revolution,” the SPA said in a statement.

The TMC and the opposition appeared to be on a collision course over popular demands for democratisation under a civilian government. The SPA said it would suspend talks with the military council.

The opposition insists on a swift handover of power to civilians, the TMC said the process could take up to two years.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/governance/governance-governance/sudan-military-council-members-resign/
 

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Sudan Opposition, Military Council Hopeful on Forming Transition Council
Saturday, 27 April, 2019


Sudanese demonstrators wave their national flag as they arrive for a protest rally outside the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 11, 2019. (Reuters)

Members of the Sudanese opposition and the Transitional Military Council expressed hope on Saturday that they may jointly form a transition council that would lead the country towards civilian rule following the ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir.

Both sides announced they would set up a joint committee comprised of members of both the military council and the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, to tackle political disputes.

“Today we have taken positive steps and we expect to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties,” said Ayman Nimir, an opposition negotiator.

A TMC spokesman, Shams El Din Kabbashi, also said the talks had gone well.

“God willing the talks will continue this evening and we are very optimistic that we can reach a final result and announce it to the Sudanese people,” he said.

"The discussion was positive and fruitful," activist Madani Abbas Madani said.

The TMC overthrew and arrested former Bashir on April 11 following months of protests, saying it would rule for up to two years ahead of elections.

Anti-Bashir opposition groups and protesters who have kept up a sit-in outside the defense ministry want a civilian-led transitional council with military representation.

The TMC has dismissed and arrested some former officials, announced anti-corruption measures and promised to give executive authority to a civilian government, but has previously signaled that ultimate authority will remain in its hands.

Bashir was overthrown and detained by the military after 16 weeks of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.

 

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Sudan sit-in numbers grow
by Reuters -
26th Apr 2019

A huge crowd massed outside Sudan’s Defence Ministry to demand civilian rule, a Reuters witness said, challenging the Transitional Military Council that removed President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month.

They were responding to a call by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), the main organiser of protests including a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry compound that began on April 6, for a million people to join the march.

Earlier, about 100 Sudanese judges demanding civilian rule walked from the Khartoum Supreme Court to the sit-in, joining anti-government protests for the first time, a Reuters witness said.

Wearing black robes, some judges carried signs reading “judges for change” as they marched through central Khartoum to the Defence Ministry, the witness said.

“Civilian, civilian, protected by the judiciary”, they chanted.

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition are at loggerheads over how long it will take to move to civilian rule after the military ousted Bashir on April 11 following months of protests against his 30-year rule.

The military then established the TMC to run Sudan for a period of up to two years.

Thursday’s march was the first by judges in Sudan since Bashir took power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989.

“We demand reform of the judiciary until justice prevails and corruption is prosecuted,” appeals judge Abu al-Fattah Mohamed Othman told Reuters.

“We demand removal of symbols of the former regime from the judiciary and dismissal of the head of the judiciary to achieve justice.”

Shortly after the judges’ march began, the TMC announced it would retain “sovereign authority only”, while civilians would hold the post of prime minister and head all government ministries.

“The Transitional Military Council has the sovereign authority only, while the head of the cabinet, the civilian government and the executive authority will be completely civilian,” TMC spokesman Shams El Din Kabbashi told al Arabiya television.

RAPID HANDOVER OF POWER

The opposition demands a rapid handover of power to civilians. The sit-in outside the Defence Ministry, which began five days before Bashir’s removal, continues as protest leaders press for faster change.

On Wednesday the opposition and the TMC agreed to form a committee to resolve their differences.

Three TMC members resigned, the TMC said, but their resignations are yet to be accepted. The members were Lieutenant-General Omar Zain al-Abideen, head of the political committee, Lieutenant-General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh and Lieutenant-General Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel.

One SPA’s demand is the three lieutenant-generals be dismissed and tried over their alleged role in a crackdown that killed dozens of protesters.
The SPA insists a civilian ruling council with representation for the military should take over.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside Egypt’s embassy in Khartoum to demand President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi not interfere in Sudan, footage aired by Al Jazeera Mubasher showed.

“Tell Sisi this is Sudan, your borders are just until Aswan”, they chanted.

At a Cairo meeting led by Sisi on Tuesday, African leaders agreed to give the TMC three months to implement democratic reforms, extending a 15-day deadline set by the African Union last week. Sisi presently holds the rotating African Union presidency.

Sudan sit-in numbers grow - defenceWeb
 

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Sudan counter coup possible
by Reuters -
26th Apr 2019


Sudan could face a counter coup if military rulers and the opposition do not reach agreement on handover of power to civilians, leading opposition figure and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi said.

Mahdi, Sudan’s last democratically elected premier, said hardliners in ousted president Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) and its allies in the army would exploit the uncertainty to seize power.

“For them to attempt a counter coup is most probable. All the time they are conspiring,” Mahdi (83) said in an interview with Reuters in Khartoum.

“The whole group is well versed in conspiracy. The conspiratorial mind is ingrained in them.”

Mahdi, who studied at Britain’s Oxford University, was overthrown in a bloodless coup by Bashir in 1989.

Bashir fell after weeks of mass demonstrations and the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, the main protest organiser, called for a million-strong march to press for civilian rule.

Mahdi predicted Sudan’s generals would relinquish power if the current stalemate was broken.

“I think their intentions are good,” he said of the senior army officers who overthrew Bashir, three decades after he seized power and then formed the TMC.

“They are not interested in a military government,” he said, an outcome which the African Union said would be unacceptable.

The spokesman for Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) said it would retain “sovereign authority only” while civilians held the post of prime minister and headed government ministries.

On Wednesday, the opposition and the TMC agreed to form a committee to resolve disagreements, amid tensions over how long it would take to move to civilian government in Sudan, where widespread impoverishment has been entrenched by systemic financial mismanagement, corruption and cronyism.

SOME CONCESSIONS
The generals offered some concessions, sacking some officials, announcing the arrest of others, including two of Bashir’s brothers and ordering steps to curb fraud.

But they insist, while willing to accept a civilian transitional government, ultimate authority will remain in their hands until elections are held up to two years from now.

Mahdi’s moderate Islamic Umma party is engaged in negotiations. Asked if he was interested in ruling Sudan now, Mahdi said: “I will not take part in government until and unless we have elections.”

He reflected on the turbulent history of Sudan under Bashir including multiple armed rebellions, economic crises and allegations of war crimes in Darfur. Mahdi recalled he said was the day the Islamist Bashir began leading Sudan to failure.

“I was praying at home. Dawn prayers. And they surrounded my house,” he said of the 1989 coup which took him by surprise. “I think they wanted to kill me. To capture me and pretend I tried to escape or resisted.”

After Mahdi was initially jailed, he said he was taken to what he described as a ghost house. Three men confronted him.

“You can save yourself if you record here democracy has failed,” he quoted them as saying. “They wanted me to give legitimacy to their coup.”
He refused. “They took me to an execution cell.” For the next two years he was jailed and under house arrest.

Mahdi met with intelligence chief Salah Gosh and acting NCP chairman Ahmed Haroun on April 10, the day before Bashir was ousted, after they asked to see him.

The men threatened force to disperse a protester sit-in outside the Defence Ministry, he said. Mahdi told them he would join the sit-in to protect protesters.

“At this point Haroun said, ‘You will not find them because they will be crushed,’” said Mahdi.

Reuters could not independently verify this account. Gosh could not be reached for comment, while Haroun was arrested and jailed after Bashir’s removal.

Bashir now languishes in the same, high-security Kobar prison he sent Mahdi to 30 years ago and where the veteran autocrat held thousands of political detainees. “Kobar is a collection of who’s who in Sudanese politics,” said Mahdi.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/governance/governance-governance/sudan-counter-coup-possible/
 

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Port Sudan protests disrupt South Sudan oil exports
by Reuters -
29th Apr 2019


South Sudan’s oil exports were disrupted after oil workers in Port Sudan in neighbouring Sudan went on strike and joined widespread anti-government protests, a government spokesman said.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said an unknown quantity of oil was not lifted in the Red Sea city, where landlocked South Sudan’s oil is transferred from a pipeline to oil tankers.

He said Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol will travel to Khartoum to discuss the flow of South Sudan oil with the Transitional Military Council, which deposed President Omar al-Bashir two weeks ago.

“Certain chemicals used for processing the oil in South Sudan, supposed to be imported from Port Sudan, are stranded because staff of oil companies also joined the strike and nobody is doing the job over there.”

The minister said South Sudan’s current oil production is 135,000 barrels per day.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/national-security/port-sudan-protests-disrupt-south-sudan-oil-exports/
 

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Talks on Sudan power sharing
by Reuters -
30th Apr 2019

Sudan’s military rulers and an opposition alliance met to discuss the powers of a joint military-civilian council to steer transition after three decades of rule by Omar al-Bashir, two sources familiar with the proceedings said.

The two sides were due to talk about the make-up of the proposed body, but military officers who toppled Bashir on April 11 focussed the discussions on the future council’s functions and powers, the sources said.

A further meeting between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, an umbrella group representing opposition groups and activists, will discuss the council’s composition, they added.

The make-up of the proposed council is key because activists who organised 16 weeks of protests leading to Bashir’s ouster insist the body be
civilian led. The TMC has not indicated any willingness to cede ultimate authority.

The joint council would be the sovereign body overseeing a technocrat government and legislative council.

After Bashir’s ouster the TMC announced it would remain in place for two years ahead of elections. The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces wants a four-year transition overseen by a civilian-led council with military representation.

Protesters kept up pressure on the TMC by way of mass rallies and a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum that began on April 6.

Monday’s meeting at the presidential palace on the banks of the Blue Nile in Khartoum is a short distance from the sit-in.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/governance/governance-governance/talks-on-sudan-power-sharing/
 

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KSRelief helps Sudan
29 April 2019

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has stepped up a number of initiatives in Yemen and Sudan ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, removing mines and providing aid packages to displaced and impoverished families.


The center has announced that aid worth $549,000, comprising 13,725 food baskets, would be distributed across five Sudanese states to over 68,000 people, at a ceremony in Khartoum. The event was attended by the Saudi ambassador to Sudan, Ali bin Hassan Jafar, and the representative of the director general of Sudanese Moral Guidance, Maj. Gen. Fathi Al-Mahal.

KSRelief also revealed various other international projects beyond the Middle East and North African regions it has been involved in, including the bequest of 11,200 kilos of dates to the Republic of Senegal last month.

 

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Arab states support Sudan transition, want stability: UAE minister
01 May 2019

A Sudanese demonstrator from the Darfur region waves a Sudanese national flag from atop a bus as he arrives to be part of a mass anti-government protest outside Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 30, 2019. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)


AFP

  • Since his ouster, they have pledged three billion dollars (2.7 billion euros) in financial assistance to Sudan's new military rulers
  • A tripling by the government of the price of the bread in the face of a chronic shortage of flour was the immediate trigger for the four months of nationwide protests that led up to Bashir's overthrow
ABU DHABI: The UAE said Wednesday it supported an "orderly" transition in Sudan where military leaders who toppled veteran president Omar al-Bashir are locked in a standoff with protesters demanding civilian rule.

The United Arab Emirates, along with its Gulf ally Saudi Arabia, had provided an economic lifeline to Bashir's regime after it broke ranks with their arch foe Iran in 2016 and sent hundreds of ground troops to join a Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

Since his ouster, they have pledged three billion dollars (2.7 billion euros) in financial assistance to Sudan's new military rulers, as they seek to consolidate relations and prevent any repetition of the chaos of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.

"Totally legitimate for Arab states to support an orderly and stable transition in Sudan," the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Twitter.

"One that carefully calibrates popular aspirations with institutional stability.

"We have experienced all-out chaos in the region and, sensibly, don't need more of it," Gargash said.

Sudanese protesters have called for a mass rally in the capital Khartoum on Thursday, insisting the army is not serious about handing power to civilians nearly three weeks after it toppled Bashir.

The army has so far rejected protesters' demands for a civilian-led body to replace the ruling military council, saying that a proposed joint body should be led by current military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and have a military majority.

Sudan is heavily dependent on the financial support of its newfound Gulf Arab allies and one of the first actions of the military council was to promise no change in Khartoum's commitment to the war in Yemen.

With the loss of most of its oil production to the newly independent South Sudan in 2011, Sudan lost more than half of its foreign exchange earnings leading to a chronic shortage of hard currency that has led to spiralling inflation and frequent shortages of imported commodities.

A tripling by the government of the price of the bread in the face of a chronic shortage of flour was the immediate trigger for the four months of nationwide protests that led up to Bashir's overthrow.

 

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Crowds to flood Khartoum as standoff with military persists
02 May 2019
AFP

Sudanese protesters chant slogans during a sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum on May 1, 2019. (AFP)

  • The two sides have been negotiating the formation of a new transitional government but are divided over the role of the military
  • The African Union gave the military an extension of 60 days to hand over power, noting with "deep regret" that the generals had missed the earlier deadline
KHARTOUM: Sudanese demonstrators are expected to stage a “million-strong” march on Thursday to press for a civilian administration after talks with military rulers hit a snag.

The two sides have agreed on forming a joint civilian-military council to run Sudan but are at odds over its composition.
Protest leaders from the Alliance for Freedom and Change say the army is not serious about handing power to civilians, three weeks after it toppled autocratic president Omar Al-Bashir.

The army, which took over after Bashir’s ouster on April 11, has been pushing for a 10-member council including seven military representatives and three civilians.

The alliance is demanding a council made up of eight civilians and seven generals.

The disagreement prompted the alliance to announce a “million-strong march on May 2 to assert our main demand, which is for civilian rule.”

The call has exacerbated tensions between the two sides.

The military council has warned it will not allow “chaos” and urged protesters to dismantle makeshift barricades they have set up around the main protest site outside army headquarters.

It also demanded protesters open roads and bridges blocked by demonstrators who have camped outside the headquarters for weeks, even after Bashir’s ouster.

Adding to the deepening discord, the military council said six security personnel were killed in clashes with protesters across the country on
Monday.

As both sides in the standoff remained intransigent, they held separate news conferences on Tuesday to explain their divergent views.
“The military council is not serious about handing over power to civilians,” said Mohamed Naji Al-Assam, a leader of the Sudanese Professionals
Association (SPA) spearheading the protests.

“The military council insists that the (joint) council should be military led with civilian representation,” Assam said, adding the army had been seeking to “expand its powers daily.”

In an interview with AFP, Sudan’s main opposition leader Sadiq Al-Mahdi on Wednesday warned protest leaders against provoking the military.
“If we provoke the... armed forces which contributed to the change, we would be asking for trouble,” he said.

The military council’s deputy head Mohammad Hamdan Dagolo has said it is “committed to negotiations but (will allow) no chaos.”

Hamdan, widely knowns as Himeidti, and some of his colleagues spoke of incidents since the protests first broke out in December over the tripling of bread prices, including looting and burning of markets across Sudan.

The spokesman of the military council, Lt. Gen. Shamseddin Al-Kabbashi, said the “armed forces must remain in the sovereign council” because of tensions facing the country.

Sudan’s protests took a new turn on April 6 when thousands of people began setting up a makeshift camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum, urging the military to back them in ousting Bashir.

Five days later, the army took power through a transitional military council, having deposed Bashir.

Since then the 10-member council of generals has resisted calls to step down and demonstrators accused them of being little different from Bashir.

But in a breakthrough on Saturday, the two sides agreed to form a joint civilian-military body to pave the way for a civilian government after lengthy talks.

The protesters have won support from Western governments for their demands.

But a new round of talks with the military council to iron out their differences has yet to be decided.

The African Union on Tuesday gave Sudan’s military rulers another 60 days to hand over power to a civilian authority or face suspension, after an earlier deadline was missed.

 

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