Sudan News & Discussions

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Sudan Military Council Calls for Talks, Says Agreement Looming on Horizon
Thursday, 30 May, 2019

Khartoum – Mohammed Amin Yassin

A general strike continued for the second day in a row in various cities of Sudan which, according to organizers, was a great success in reviving the political process after days of tension.

Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) had called for the two-day strike from Tuesday to pressure the military junta to transfer power to civilians.

The participation rate in the strike rose on the second day, after thousands of employees and public servants, including workers at the Ministry of Petroleum and Gas, joined in.

The surprise came from Darfur, where DFCF announced that the strike was completely successful, as hundreds gathered in al-Fashir, capital of North Darfur, chanting for a civilian authority.

Employees at the Central Bank of Sudan also staged a rally outside the bank's headquarters in Khartoum, protesting harassment by government forces against some of their colleagues.

The strike continued in the banks and commercial banks of Khartoum and their branches in other states. The protest of Central Bank employees led to a complete cessation of financial transactions.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said it launched an investigation into the harassment incident and announced the closure of all branches of the bank. It warned the authorities and security forces against attacking any of the protesters.

The Association stressed its determination to achievr the goals declared in the Declaration of Freedom and Change, namely establishing the transitional civil authority.

Employees from other sectors, including the workers at the airport, medical staff and workers at the administration of electricity and water authority, also joined the strike.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) agreed, 24 hours after the strike, to resume the negotiations with the Declaration Forces and other political forces without giving a specific time.

TMC spokesman General Shams el-Din Kabbashi asserted the Council is close to agreeing with Freedom and Change forces on the document of the transitional period.

Member of DFCF’s negotiating delegation Madani Abbas Madani stated that the Forces didn’t receive any invitation for negotiations from the Military Council.

Madani told Asharq al-Awsat that the statements made by the TMC spokesman are positive and can create the most suitable atmosphere for dialogue.

He pointed out that the strike exceeded the expectations of the Forces, and sent a clear message to the Military Council.

TMC Vice-President Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo stated that the Council will not close the door to negotiations and dialogue with the DFCF, stressing that the Council and the Forces are partners in the change and overthrowing the former regime.

Dagolo indicated that had the Armed Forces not joined the revolution, the former regime would have remained in power. He asserted that the Council will not allow the country to reach a state of chaos similar to Syria and Libya.

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of a faction of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) Yasir Arman announced receiving six letters from the Council ordering him to leave the country, but he refused. He arrived in the country abruptly last Sunday without arrangements to return.

Arman and fellow SPLM-N leader Malik Agar were sentenced to death in absentia in March 2014 by a Sudanese court in Sanjia.

In other developments, the Khartoum prosecutor summoned former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi to testify on Thursday in the open report filed against ousted president Omar al-Bashir and others on charges of undermining the constitutional system and seizing civilian power through a military coup.


 

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General's growing political clout poses a risk to Sudan's transition
May 30, 2019
Michael Georgy

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Six weeks after a coup d’etat in Sudan, high-profile military leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is evolving into an increasingly influential political force.

The involvement of so powerful a military chief in politics could undermine efforts to create a democracy in the northeast African country and provoke army officers who are wary of his ambitions, opponents and Western diplomats say.

Dagalo, commonly known as Hemedti, is deputy chairman of Transitional Military Council (TMC) that has been running Sudan since President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s fall in April.

Unlike junta leader Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Hemedti has grabbed the limelight, often delivering speeches in public as Sudan navigates a volatile transition period after a 30-year dictatorship.

“Hemedti is playing an increasingly prominent role, ranging beyond his core security brief. This suggests an ambition to play a longer-term political role,” a senior Western diplomat told Reuters.

“A more prominent leadership role for Hemedti would undermine the clear popular demand for civilian leadership in Sudan.”

In his rise from humble beginnings as a desert livestock trader to one of Bashir’s most trusted aides in a country of constantly shifting alliances, Hemedti has shown his determination and skill at maneuvering behind the scenes.

A tall, imposing figure who has an office in the presidential palace, Hemedti is backed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the widely feared paramilitary fighters who number in the tens of thousands and control the capital Khartoum.

Hemedti also gained vital support from oil powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after he sent RSF forces to back them in Yemen’s civil war. The Gulf Arab states pledged $3 billion in aid between them to Sudan last month.

POLITICAL AIMS POSE RISKS
The general’s growing political strength is welcomed by some Sudanese.

“Hemedti has been getting stronger. He is a patriot who helped lead the revolution,” said travel agent Mu’min Hamed. “He is the one handling the affairs of the state. I think he could lead the country.”

Others regard him as a symbol of the past.

“The military council does not want to hand over power to civilians because the generals would be vulnerable to prosecution over human rights abuses,” said university student Mahmoud al-Zeyn.

His emergence could complicate an already delicate stage of Sudan’s planned transition to democracy.

Tensions are mounting between the TMC and an alliance of protest and opposition groups who want a quick handover of power to civilians. Political analysts and Western diplomats say his advance could also be opposed by some officers, who believe he did not deserve his rapid rise through the military.

Born in 1975, Hemedti is the youngest member of the TMC and unlike its other generals has never attended a military college. His success was largely due to his close ties to Bashir.

RSF fighters, armed with assault rifles, machine guns mounted on trucks and rocket-propelled grenades, are better paid than some army officers. They were hardened by the war in Darfur against rebels who rose up against the government.

“There is no junior or senior army officer who accepts what Hemedti is doing,” said political analyst Faisal Saleh.

There are no signs of hostility between the RSF and the army. Ties between junta leader Burhan and Hemedti appear strong.

“He is trying to cooperate as much as possible with the army,” said Khalid al-Tagani, a prominent newspaper editor and political analyst.

But this does not rule out the possibility of violence, especially if Hemedti pushes hard to consolidate his position, according to Western diplomats and political analysts.

“I don’t expect a civil war like in Libya or Syria. But in the long term it could turn into confrontation,” said Saleh.

SHREWD OPERATOR
Hemedti used to be a commander of Arab militias that were later transformed into the RSF and were accused by human rights groups of genocide in the Darfur war that began in 2003. Bashir’s government denied the allegations.

Hemedti now portrays himself as a man of the people who can heal a country which has suffered from multiple armed rebellions, U.S. sanctions, poverty and economic crises.

When unrest over economic hardships erupted in December, Hemedti said the protesters’ demands were legitimate and spoke out against corruption. Realising Bashir could not cling to power in the face of a mass uprising, he ensured his forces did not join a crackdown in which dozens of protesters were killed.

Hemedti fires up audiences in simple, colloquial Arabic that has wide appeal across Sudan.

“We can’t please everyone, but we will try to be active in everyone’s problems, the real problems. Because every shepherd is responsible for his sheep,” Hemedti told army officers at the Khartoum prison where Bashir is held.

Hemedti has paid airport workers their salaries for three months, told the RSF to crack down on the smuggling of flour and other commodities, and offered to help indebted prisoners.

He has also sought to show he can handle foreign policy. On a trip to Saudi Arabia this month, he met its powerful crown prince and said he would back the kingdom against any threats and attacks from its rival, Iran, according to a TMC statement.

Hemedti recently spoke for nearly 20 minutes after breaking the Ramadan fast to an audience including the top official in the U.S. embassy and the Saudi ambassador, as well as local and international media. He said he favored “real democracy”.

“Democracy is consultation ... that’s it, we want real democracy,” he said in his speech, which was punctuated by applause and laughter. “We want a man who comes in through the ballot box. We want free and fair elections.”

Reporting by Michael Georgy, Editing by Timothy Heritage



 

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Sudan's military rulers say protest site threatens stability: TV
May 31, 2019


KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Sudanese demonstrators converged on central Khartoum on Thursday night demanding civilian rule amid increasing tensions with the country’s military rulers who accused a protest encampment of threatening stability.

The protest, which followed a two-day strike organized by demonstrators and opposition groups frustrated by a deadlock in talks on a transition to democracy, underscores the volatility of the situation in Sudan nearly two months after the military overthrew autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The head of the central Khartoum military region accused “unruly elements” of attacking a vehicle used by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and seizing it near the protest site.

“The protest site has become unsafe and represents a danger to the revolution and the revolutionaries and threatens the coherence of the state and its national security,” General Bahar Ahmed al-Bahar, head of the central region in Khartoum said in a statement he read on television.

Tens of thousands of protesters had converged on an encampment heeding a call by protest leaders to step up pressure on the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to hand over power to civilians, following a two-day strike observed earlier this week.

Protesters have accused the RSF of trying to undermine a transition to democracy, a charge the force denies.

Sudanese security forces on Thursday delivered an order by the TMC to close down the offices of Qatar-based Al Jazeera Television without giving a reason, the head of the office said.

TMC officials could not immediately be reached for a comment on the report.

Stability in strategically located Sudan is crucial for the security of a volatile region struggling against Islamist insurgencies, including the Horn of Africa through Egypt and Libya. Various powers, including wealthy Gulf Arab states, are trying to influence its path.

A Reuters witness said that the protesters who had converged on the protest site chanted slogans against the RSF, a paramilitary force led by the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

“Support get out,” the crowds chanted, referring to the RSF. Some stood in front of military trucks used by the force which controls the capital.
Dagalo, who goes by the name Hemedti, has accused protesters of receiving support from abroad and said they were not entitled to claim they speak for all Sudanese.

Talks between the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), a coalition of demonstrators and opposition groups, and the TMC have stalled amid differences over whether the military would control a proposed sovereign body that would lead Sudan during a three-year transitional period.

The DFCF had previously said that the military council has demanded a two-thirds majority, of eight to three, on the sovereign council that will lead the country of 40 million.

The coalition had called for a two-day strike of public and private enterprises from Tuesday, and threatened to call for general civil disobedience if the military does not heed their demands.

Sadiq al-Mahdi, head of Sudan’s largest political party, proposed on Thursday that a government of technocrats be established to govern while the two sides negotiated an agreement on the composition of the sovereign council.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Grant McCool

 

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Report says Sudan summons its envoy from Qatar
01 June 2019

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s state-run news agency says the Foreign Ministry has summoned the country’s envoy from Qatar, a day after the satellite news channel Al-Jazeera said Sudanese authorities shut down its Khartoum bureau.

Saturday’s report by SUNA has quoted Babaker al-Amin, spokesman for the ministry, as saying that Ambassador Fathel-Rahamn Mohammed was summoned for consultations and “will be sent back to Doha within the coming hours.”

Qatar-funded Al-Jazeera said Friday that Sudan’s authorities banned its journalists from reporting in the country.
The development comes amid concerns from protesters that the ruling military council might disperse their main sit-in in Khartoum.

Both sides remain split over the make-up and leadership of a sovereign council that would run Sudan during a three-year transition period after the military overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.


 

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Eleven wounded in Sudan by gunfire near sit-in -opposition committee
June 2, 2019

(Reuters) - At least 11 people were wounded by gunfire near a protest sit-in in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Saturday, an opposition doctors’ committee said.
Sudan’s main protest group blamed the violence on the Transitional Military Council (TMC), saying that it is part of a plan to violently clear the protests.

“The killing and intimidation on Nile Street is just a prelude to committing a massacre to end the sit-in by force,” Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) said in a statement late on Saturday.

Tensions are mounting between the TMC and an alliance of protest and opposition groups who want a quick handover of power to civilians.

TMC officials could not immediately be reached for a comment.

The head of the central Khartoum military region said on Thursday the protest site “has become unsafe and represents a danger to the revolution and the revolutionaries and threatens the coherence of the state and its national security.”

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Editing by Chris Reese

 

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Sudan protest leaders say they cut contact with military
Updated 20 sec ago
AP
AFP
June 03, 2019
View attachment 7475
Members of Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups chant slogans outside Sudan's Central Bank, in Khartoum, Sudan May 29, 2019. (Reuters)

  • In a sit-in camp, protesters have demanded an end to military rule
  • Protest leaders said the military is trying to break up the protest site
Khartoum: Sudanese protest leaders said they cut all contact with the military rulers and called for “total civil disobedience” after a deadly crackdown Monday on a sit-in outside the army headquarters.

“We announce the end of all political contact and negotiations with the putschist Council,” the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group of the protest movement, said in a statement.

Earlier, Sudanese security forces moved against a protest sit-in camp in the capital, witnesses and protest organizers said. Machine gun fire and explosions were heard and smoke rose from the area.

Protest organizers said at least nine people were killed. Reports suggest that military forces blocked roads leading to protest areas in Khartoum.

The military's move came after a weeks-long standoff with protesters seeking a speedy transition to civilian rule following the April ouster of long-time strongman Omar al-Bashir.

The European Union asked the military council to hand power to civilians.

Dura Gambo, an activist, said large numbers of troops besieged the sit-in area outside the military's headquarters in Khartoum on Monday and arrested protesters trying to leave.

"They have used the heavy rain yesterday and moved in the early morning to disperse people," she said.

An Associated Press journalist saw buses and soldiers on foot blocking roads leading to the protest site. Civilians were not allowed to walk in the streets, including women and children.

Videos circulating online appeared to show protesters standing at low brick barricades in the street, then being driven back by walls of blue-clad security forces carrying sticks.

Other videos showed protesters running through streets lined with sit-in tents, heads down, as the sound of gunfire filled the air.

Tens of thousands of protesters have been camped for weeks outside the military's headquarters, the epicenter of Sudan's uprising that led to the military overthrow of al-Bashir.

Protesters had vowed to remain in the streets after Bashir's ouster, saying an end to his 30-year rule did not go far enough.

Protest leaders and military officials have been negotiating over the makeup of a transitional government, as protesters call for "limited military representation" in a sovereign council that would lead the country as it transitions to civilian rule over three years.

Both sides are split over the makeup and leadership of the council, with the ruling generals refusing to relinquish power.

 

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Sudanese forces storm protest camp, more than 30 people killed: medics
June 3, 2019
Michael Georgy

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Security forces stormed a protest camp in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Monday and opposition-linked medics said more than 30 people were killed in the worst violence since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

Footage shared on social media and verified by Reuters showed chaotic scenes of people fleeing through streets as sustained bursts of gunfire crackled in the air during violence that drew rapid Western and African censure.

Witnesses said a sit-in next to the Defence Ministry, the focal point of anti-government protests that started in December, had been cleared. Protesters poured onto streets elsewhere in Khartoum and beyond in response, setting up barricades and roadblocks with rocks and burning tyres.

A group of doctors linked to the opposition said 30 people had been “martyred” in Monday’s violence, with the toll expected to rise because not all casualties had been accounted for. The group had earlier said at least 116 people were wounded.

The main protest group accused the ruling military council of perpetrating “a massacre” as it broke up the camp.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) denied that, with a spokesman, Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi, telling Reuters security forces were pursuing “unruly elements” who had fled to the protest site and caused chaos.

“The Transitional Military Council regrets the way the situation unfolded, reaffirming its full commitment to the ... safety of the citizens and renews its call for negotiations as soon as possible,” the council later said in a statement.

Monday’s violence is likely to deal a blow to hopes for a restart to stalled talks and a negotiated settlement over who should govern in a transitional period after Bashir’s overthrow.

Sudan’s public prosecutor on Monday ordered an investigation into the violence, state news agency SUNA said.

TALKS HALTED
An alliance of protest and opposition groups that had been negotiating with the military for weeks said it was halting all contact with the council.

The TMC had offered to let protesters form a government but insisted on maintaining overall authority during an interim period. Demonstrators want civilians to run the transitional period and lead Sudan’s 40 million people to democracy.
The protest-linked doctors group said security forces had surrounded one Khartoum hospital and had opened fire at another where they were pursuing protesters.

“The protesters holding a sit-in in front of the army general command are facing a massacre in a treacherous attempt to disperse the protest,” said protests organizer the Sudanese Professionals Association.

The United Nations, African Union and European Union expressed deep concern, some explicitly blaming the military.
“What is clear to us is that there was use of excessive force by the security forces on civilians,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Britain’s ambassador Irfan Siddiq said he heard gunfire for more than an hour from his residence. “No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Responsibility falls on the TMC. The TMC cannot responsibly lead the people of Sudan,” added the U.S. Embassy.
The European Union urged a speedy transfer of power to civilians, while the African Union called for an immediate investigation, and Amnesty International urged sanctions on those officials responsible.

Neighboring Egypt called for “calm and restraint”, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said it hoped that dialogue would prevail in Sudan.

“The regional experience has taught us that the orderly and conservative transition of the state and its institutions is the only way to avoid years of chaos and loss,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.

SMOKE AND STONES
Television footage showed black smoke rising from tents, apparently torched by the raiding force.
Internet users reported connection problems.

As protests unfurled, demonstrators in Khartoum hurled stones at security forces, who charged amid sounds of intense gunfire. One video posted on social media showed a protester collapse to the ground, crying in pain after being hit by what appeared to be live fire.

A Reuters witness saw troops wielding batons, including riot police and members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), deploy in central Khartoum and close roads, apparently to try to block people from reaching the protest site.

The RSF is commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the military council’s deputy head. Dagalo, known as Hemedti, is a close ally of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and sent Sudanese troops to join the coalition they lead in Yemen’s civil war.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are eager to root out Islamists who dominated in Sudan under Bashir’s three-decade rule.

The military’s role in ousting Bashir has raised fears among many Sudanese that their country could follow a similar path to neighboring Egypt after its 2011 uprising.

There, a military council oversaw a turbulent and sometimes violent transition before army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Mursi. Sisi was elected president in 2014 and again in 2018 with 97 percent of the vote.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Michael Georgy in Khartoum; Additional reporting by Ali Abdelaty, Omar Fahmy, Lena Masri and Yousef Saba in Cairo; Writing by Sami Aboudi, Aidan Lewis and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Andrew Cawthorne and Catherine Evans

 

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Sudanese opposition rejects military's transition plan after day of violence
04 June 2019
Khalid Abdelaziz


View attachment 7507
Sudanese protesters are seen near burning tyres used to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council handover power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s opposition on Tuesday rejected a plan by its military rulers to hold elections within nine months, a day after the worst bout of violence since Omar al-Bashir was ousted as president in April.

At least 35 people were killed on Monday when security forces stormed a protest camp outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum, according to doctors linked to the opposition.

The military council that has ruled since Bashir’s overthrow afterwards canceled all agreements with the main opposition alliance.

But Madani Abbas Madani, a leader of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) opposition alliance, said an open-ended civil disobedience campaign would continue to try to force the council from power.

The opposition rejected all that Transitional Military Council (TMC) Head Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in his statement, Madani told Reuters.

“What happened, killing protesters, wounding and humiliation, was a systematic and planned matter to impose repression on the Sudanese people,” he said.

The atmosphere in the capital Khartoum was very tense on Tuesday as many roads were barricaded by protesters, many shops were shut and streets were mostly empty. Security forces were trying to clear the barricades, a Reuters witness said.

Rapid Support Forces vehicles were patrolling the streets in Omdurman, on the other side of the River Nile from Khartoum, and firing into the air.

The leaders of protests that forced Bashir from power after three decades of authoritarian rule in April have demanded preparations for elections during a transitional period led by a civilian administration.

The military council has also been under both domestic and international pressure to hand over power to civilians. It had agreed to a three-year transition period with the DFCF.

RISK OF ESCALATION

The main protest organizers, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), accused the security forces of perpetrating “a massacre” when they raided the camp amid heavy gunfire.

Council spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi denied this and said security forces were pursuing “unruly elements” who had fled to the protest site and caused chaos.

Sudan has been rocked by unrest since December, when anger over rising bread prices and cash shortages broke into sustained protests that culminated in the armed forces ousting Bashir.

But talks between a coalition of protesters and opposition parties ground to a halt amid deep differences over who will lead a transition to democracy that both sides had agreed will last for three years.

In a televised address in the early hours of Tuesday morning, council leader Burhan said the opposition coalition was equally responsible for the delay in coming to a final agreement.

The council had decided to cancel all agreements with the protest groups and called for elections within nine months, which he said will be organized under regional and international supervision.
“Gaining legitimacy and a mandate does not come but through the ballot box,” Burhan said.

He also announced that a government would immediately be formed to run the country until elections are held.
Burhan also said he regretted the violence and it would be investigated.

The security forces’ operation drew condemnation from Europe, the United States and the African Union.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it was clear they had used excessive force on civilians, while British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt called the dispersal “outrageous”.

The European Union urged a speedy transfer of power to civilians. Neighboring Egypt called for “calm and restraint”, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said it hoped that dialogue would prevail in Sudan.

The Soufan Group, a security and intelligence think-tank, warned that the situation could escalate swiftly to more violence.

“There are clear parallels to some of the Arab Spring protests that eventually progressed to full-blown insurgencies, including Syria, where indiscriminate shelling of civilians by the military initially galvanized protest movements that helped launch a broader uprising,” it said in an analysis.

“There is a real risk that the situation could spiral into full-blown civil war, which would significantly affect the region, with spillover violence impacting the ongoing conflict in Libya.”

However, Hamid Eltgani Ali, a professor at the American University in Cairo, predicted that the protest movement would succeed in forcing the military to step down.

There were two competing visions for Sudan’s future, he told Reuters.

“The vision of hate and division is led by the Janjaweed (militias) and military resisting to preserve their economic interests they enjoyed during Bashir’s rule, while the vision of hope is led by professional associations and syndicates. They want a democratic, open Sudan with a strong developmental vision,” Ali said.

Sudan has been on a U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism since 1993 that denies the country access to financial markets and strangles its economy.

Washington lifted a 20-year trade embargo against Sudan in 2017 and was in discussions to remove it from the sponsor of terrorism list when the military stepped in to depose Bashir.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty, Nadine Awadalla, and Yousef Saba, Editing by Angus MacSwan

 

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Sudan deal scrapped, election call made
Written by Reuters -
4th Jun 2019

Sudan’s ruling military council cancelled all agreements with the main opposition coalition and called for elections within nine months, following the worst violence since President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April.

The decision by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) is likely to fuel anger among protest leaders who demand preparations for elections during a longer transitional period led by a civilian administration.

The TMC is under domestic and international pressure to hand power to civilians.

At least 35 people were killed when security forces stormed a protest camp outside the Defence Ministry in central Khartoum on Monday amid heavy gunfire, according to a group of doctors linked to the opposition. The group earlier said at least 116 people were wounded.

Main protest organisers the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) accused the TMC of perpetrating “a massacre” as it broke up the camp, a charge denied by the council.

TMC spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi said security forces were pursuing “unruly elements” who fled to the protest site and caused chaos.

The camp is the focal point of pressure on the country’s military rulers to hand power to civilians.

Sudan has been rocked by unrest since December, when anger over rising bread prices and cash shortages broke into sustained protests culminating in the armed forces ousting Bashir.

Talks between a coalition of protesters and opposition parties ground to a halt amid differences over who will lead a transition to democracy both sides agree will last three years.

In a televised address in the early hours of Tuesday, TMC leader Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the opposition coalition was equally responsible for the delay in reaching a final agreement.

The TMC decided to cancel all agreements with protest groups and call for elections within nine months, which will be organised under regional and international supervision.

“Gaining legitimacy and a mandate comes through the ballot box,” Burhan said.

He announced a government would immediately be formed to run the country until elections are held.

Protest organisers have not officially responded to Burhan’s decision. They earlier condemned the violence and vowed to escalate protests to force military rulers to hand power to civilians.

Burhan regretted the violence accompanying what he described as “an operation to clean Nile Street” and said it will be investigated.
The operation drew condemnation from Europe, the United States and the African Union.

Sudan has been on a US list of states that sponsor terrorism since 1993 that denies the country access to financial markets and strangles its economy.

Washington lifted a 20-year trade embargo against Sudan in 2017 and was in discussions to remove it from the sponsor of terrorism list when the military stepped in on April 11 to depose Bashir, who ruled Sudan for 30 years.

 

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China, Russia Block UN Action on Sudan as Western Powers Denounce Election Plan
Wednesday, 5 June, 2019

View attachment 7540
Sudanese protesters are seen near burning tyres used to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council handover power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

London - Asharq Al-Awsat

China, backed by Russia, blocked a bid at the UN Security Council on Tuesday to condemn the killing of civilians in Sudan after the United States, Britain and Norway denounced a plan by Sudanese military rulers to hold elections within nine months.

During a closed-door council meeting, Britain and Germany circulated a press statement that would have called on the military rulers and protesters to "continue working together towards a consensual solution to the current crisis," according to the draft seen by Agence France Presse.

But China firmly objected to the proposed text while Russia insisted that the council should await a response from the African Union, diplomats said.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said the proposed statement was "unbalanced" and stressed the need to be "very cautious in this situation."

The council met a day after nearly 40 people were killed when security forces ended a weeks-long sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum by protesters demanding an end to military rule.

Army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced Tuesday that he was scrapping a plan for a three-year transition period and would hold elections within nine months.

"By ordering these attacks, the Transitional Military Council has put the transition process and peace in Sudan in jeopardy," Washington, London and Oslo, which are active on Sudan, said in a joint statement.

"The people of Sudan deserve an orderly transition, led by civilians, that can establish the conditions for free and fair elections, rather than have rushed elections imposed by the TMC's security forces," they said.

"We call for an agreed transfer of power to a civilian-led government as demanded by the people of Sudan," the United States, Britain and Norway said.

Hours earlier, Moscow threw its support behind Burhan’s move.

“We welcome the statement by TMC head Burhan on the establishment of a technocratic government to govern the country during the transitional period and the holding of general elections in Sudan in nine months," the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Moscow is against external pressure on Sudan.

According to analysts, Sudan is at risk of getting bloodier with more violence and chaos gripping the country.

Hassan Saouri, a political science professor at Neelain University in Khartoum, said the violence could spark more political uncertainty.

The northeast African nation could be headed "towards all kinds of chaos -- politically, militarily and societally," he told AFP from Khartoum.

"The chaotic scene could see younger military officers either joining the ranks of the revolution or backing the military council," he added.

 

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In Sudan crackdown, bullets fly as doctors struggle
Reuters
06 June 2019
View attachment 7608

During the chaos of a deadly raid on Sudanese protesters at a pro-democracy sit-in in Khartoum on Monday, a man grimaced in pain as doctors sewed his ear back together with no anaesthetic.

He tried to help the man beside him, another victim of the worst violence since army officers toppled President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on April 11.
Sudanese medics linked to the opposition said on Wednesday that the death toll from the violence has risen to more than 100, after 40 bodies were recovered from the Nile in Khartoum. Official death toll figures have not been released.

“He didn’t flinch once because he was holding hands with a guy who was getting a bullet taken out of his calf and that guy was in pain,” said a young medical student who treated the two men and many others.

“He was shouting, screaming, passing out. Everyone was trying to calm him down so this guy was holding his hand, trying to steady him.”

The medical student asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. Reuters could not independently verify his account of the crackdown.

Monday’s operation, when security forces stormed a protest camp outside the Ministry of Defence, was a major setback in efforts to create a democracy and rebuild a country plagued by rebellions, economic crises and international isolation caused by Bashir’s policies.

Talks between the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which has ruled Sudan since Bashir was overthrown, and the opposition have ground to a halt amid deep differences over who should lead a three-year transition to democracy.

The head of the TMC said on Wednesday the council was open to negotiations without conditions.

DAWN ASSAULT
The medical student and a university student who took part in the sit-in said a large number of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led the dawn assault.

The RSF, commanded by TMC deputy head General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as Hemedti, were accused by human rights groups of genocide during the war against rebels that began in Darfur in 2003.

Bashir’s government denied allegations that the Arab Janjaweed militias, later transformed into the RSF, had burned villages and raped and executed civilians.

The medical student first realized there was trouble at a barrier just outside the camp at 5 a.m. He heard bullets and saw people dropping as they ran towards him. He ran to a clinic at the sit-in.
“People were vomiting blood, choking on their own blood, drowning in it actually,” he said.

He and some doctors treated one man with a fractured skull. Brain tissue was spilling out, he said.
“He was punching and kicking. It took around five fully fit men just to hold him down while we stitched him, with barely any anaesthesia of any kind,” the student said.Most of the soldiers were young. “They didn’t look like they had any military training of any kind,” he said.

The RSF could not be reached for comment, but Hemedti, in comments to RSF members carried on state TV, said: “We issued a decision today to investigate fairly and transparently what happened at the sit-in.”

In a statement, the military council said the RSF had a strong track record of defending Sudan against terrorism, and said an organised social media campaign since Monday’s violence was aimed at “spreading lies” and “fabricating charges”.

The TMC said some RSF members were attacked and people had put on their uniforms to impersonate them.

The RSF lacks the discipline of Sudan’s regular army but has played a vital role in strengthening the position of its new military leaders.

The paramilitary force has also helped Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen’s civil war. Not long after the coup, those two oil powers pledged billions of dollars in support to Sudan.

CLINIC
The medical student received a phone call from a friend two hours after the trouble began. In the middle of that conversation, security forces opened fire on a clinic, he said.

Those inside had barricaded the building with a huge metal door, which was broken open by security forces.
“They broke the door down and started shooting. Everyone lay down on the ground, there were bullet holes across the clinic,” said the medical student.

After the shooting stopped a doctor came out with his hands in the air and said it was a clinic where patients were being treated.
“Even some of your soldiers are wounded and we have to treat them as well,” the student quoted the doctor as saying. “He convinced them and they stopped shooting.”

Sudan’s main opposition group has called for an international inquiry into what it calls a massacre. TMC head Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said he regretted the violence and it would be investigated.

The medical student and a friend took a patient to a hospital outside the protest camp. The patient was bleeding from his head.
“I was holding the patient’s head, trying to stop the blood from spilling too much,” the student said.

All around him were RSF members who were taunting him and others.
“We would say: ‘If we don’t get him to a hospital he will die’,” he said. “And they would say ‘he can die, so what if he dies’.”

A young university student, who also asked to remain anonymous, corroborated the medical student’s account of the shootings.

At first, about 30 RSF fighters entered the sit-in site. Then large numbers arrived and they swelled to over 1,000. Security forces were whipping people with rubber hoses and long wooden sticks, and kicking them, he said.
“People were dropping all around me after they were shot. Some people fled into buildings. The security forces followed them in and attacked them,” the university student said.

“I was almost shot. While all of this was happening I could see snipers stationed on several rooftops keeping an eye on everything.”

 

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Saudi Arabia, Russia watching Sudan with concern
Reuters
06 June 2019
View attachment 7608

Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it is watching developments in Sudan with great concern and it supports continued dialogue between the ruling military council and the opposition.

Saudi Arabia has close ties to the council, which has taken control of Sudan since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

Talks between the military and the opposition, which seeks a leading civilian role in a transition to democracy, have broken down. About 60 people have been killed in a crackdown on protestors by security forces since Monday, the oppostion says.

“The Kingdom hopes that all parties in Sudan will choose wisdom and constructive dialogue to preserve security and stability in Sudan, protect the people of Sudan from all harm, while maintaining Sudan’s interests and unity,” a statement on the official Saudi Press Agency said on Wednesday.

“The Kingdom affirms the importance of resuming the dialogue between the various parties in Sudan to fulfill the aspirations of the brotherly Sudanese people.”

Sudan’s opposition Democratic Alliance of Lawyers on Tuesday urged “some Arab countries” not to interfere in Sudanese affairs and to drop their support for the military council – comments apparently aimed at Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Transitional Military Council Head Abdel Lieutenant General Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo have ties to the two Gulf states through the participation of Sudanese troops in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war.

Russia said on Thursday it opposed foreign intervention in Sudan and the authorities in Khartoum must subdue what it described as extremists, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted as saying that Moscow favoured a national dialogue about a transition period leading to new elections.

“Naturally, in order to do that, you need for order to be imposed, and you need to fight against extremists and provocateurs who don’t want the stabilisation of the situation,” RIA quoted Bogdanov as saying.

“That’s the situation right now, but we are against any external intervention, the imposition of anything on the Sudanese,” he was quoted as saying.

He did not identify which groups he considered to be extremists and provocateurs.

Members of Sudan’s ruling military council are close to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while Russia has worked with Saudi Arabia’s arch foe Iran in several areas, including in Syria.

On Monday, security forces in Sudan raided a protest camp that had gathered opposition supporters calling for a transition to democracy. Medics linked to the opposition said at least 108 people had been killed in the raid and subsequent unrest.

 

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Sudan rebel leader detained
Reuters
06 June 2019

1559848310800.png

Yasir Arman

A Sudanese rebel leader who returned from exile after the overthrow of president Omar al-Bashir was arrested his organisation said.

Yasir Arman, deputy head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) group, came back last month and joined other opposition groups meeting military leaders according to local media reports.

Those talks ground to a halt, then fell apart after security forces raided a protest camp in central Khartoum on Monday.

Arman was detained by security services at his house in Khartoum, a spokesman for his group said, without giving any details.

No one was immediately available to comment from the security services.

Arman was sentenced to death in absentia for his part in a rebellion against Bashir’s government in the Sudanese state Blue Nile in 2011.

SPLM-N includes fighters who sided with South Sudanese rebels in decades of civil war fuelled by ethnicity, oil and ideology that ended in a 2005 peace deal.

They were left in Sudan when that agreement paved the way to the secession of South Sudan in 2011.


 

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Sudan Protesters Want Civil Disobedience to Pressure Military Council
8 June, 2019

A Sudanese protester in Khartoum. Reuters file photo

Asharq Al-Awsat

Protest leaders on Saturday called on Sudanese to take part in acts of civil disobedience in a bid to pressure the military to hand over power after the deadly break-up of their main sit-in in the capital of Khartoum earlier this week.

The call came a day after Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met separately with the ruling generals and the protest leaders in an effort to revive talks that were almost dead after the dispersal of the sit-in outside the military's headquarters on Monday.

The Sudan Doctors' Central Committee, one of the protest groups, said at least 113 people have been killed and more than 500 wounded since Monday. It said more than 40 bodies have been pulled from the Nile River in Khartoum and taken away by security forces since the violence erupted.

The Sudanese Professionals' Association, which spearheaded protests that led the army to oust President Omar al-Bashir, said it accepted Ahmed as a mediator to resume negotiations with the military council but had a set of conditions before returning to the negotiating table.

Those conditions included establishing an independent internationally backed body to investigate violence since al-Bashir was ousted by the military on April 11, and hold those responsible accountable. The umbrella group also called for the release of all political prisoners and said the mediation should aim at a power transfer to a civilian-led authority.

In a brief statement Saturday, the military council welcomed Ahmed's initiative and repeated its willingness to resume talks to reach "satisfactory understandings."

In an escalation, the SPA said the civil disobedience will begin Sunday and last until the military council hands over power to civilians.

The Sudanese Congress party said Saturday, meanwhile, that security forces arrested an opposition figure and two rebel leaders.

Mohammed Esmat, a negotiator for the protesters, was arrested after his meeting with the Ethiopian prime minister on Friday in Khartoum, the party said.

Security forces arrested Ismail Jalab, a leader at the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North and his spokesman Mubarak Ardol early on Saturday.

The British ambassador in Khartoum, Irfan Siddiq, condemned the arrests and called for the military council to release them.

 

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Sudan police fire tear gas as civil disobedience campaign begins, Pope pleads for peace
AFP
Reuters
June 09, 2019
View attachment 7765
Members of Sudan’s security forces patrol in Khartoum. (File/AFP)

  • Sunday marked the first day of a civil disobedience campaign
  • Protesters gathered tires, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks in Khartoum’s northern Bahari district

KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas Sunday at protesters taking part in the first day of a civil disobedience campaign, called in the wake of a deadly crackdown on demonstrators.

Protesters gathered tires, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks in Khartoum’s northern Bahari district, a witness told AFP, but riot police swiftly moved in and fired tear gas at them.

“Almost all internal roads of Bahari have roadblocks. Protesters are even stopping residents from going to work,” said the witness.

The latest bid by demonstrators to close off streets in the capital comes nearly a week after a deadly raid on a sit-in outside army headquarters which left dozens dead.
Meanwhile Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for peace in Sudan following last week’s violence in Khartoum last week.
View attachment 7766
“The news coming from Sudan is giving rise to pain and concern. We pray for these people, so that the violence ceases and the common good is sought in the dialogue,” the pope said in his weekly address to crowds in St Peter’s Square.

The bloody crackdown prompted the Sudanese Professionals Association, which first launched protests against longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir in December, to announce a nationwide civil disobedience campaign starting Sunday.

The SPA said the movement will end only after the military rulers, who took over after Bashir’s ouster two months ago, transfer power to a civilian government.

Khartoum residents have mostly remained indoors over the past few days and the downtown business district was largely shut on Sunday.

Several vehicles of the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF), blamed by witnesses for Monday’s killings, were seen moving across some parts of the capital loaded with machine guns.

Buses were not running in several districts, but private vehicles were ferrying passengers in some areas.

Airlines have scrapped most of their Sudan flights since the deadly raid and several passengers were left queueing outside Khartoum airport’s departures terminal Sunday, although it was unclear whether any flights would take off.

In Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, across the River Nile, many shops and markets remained closed but residents were seen buying staples in some grocery stores.
“Troops were also seen removing roadblocks from some streets in Omdurman,” an onlooker said.

Residents have remained on edge since the raid on the sit-in, which killed at least 115 people according to doctors close to the demonstrators.

The health ministry says 61 people died nationwide in the crackdown, 49 of them by “live ammunition” in Khartoum.

Witnesses say the assault was led by the RSF, who have their origins in the notorious Janjaweed militia, accused of abuses in the Darfur conflict between 2003 and 2004.
Demonstrators had been camped out for weeks in Khartoum to pressure the ruling generals into transferring power, but talks between protest leaders and the military broke down mid-May.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled to Sudan on Friday in a bid to revive negotiations, holding separate meetings with the two sides after which he called for a “quick” democratic transition.

 

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