Monday, October 25, after weeks of tensions between soldiers and civilians who share power in Sudan since the dismissal of the autocrat Omar Al-Bashir in 2019, General Abdel Fattah Al-Bourhane who was at the head of the Sovereignty Council , the Sudanese transitional authority, announced that the army had arrested almost all civilian leaders.
The transition started after thirty years of dictatorship seems more compromised than ever in this East African country, facing a serious economic crisis – the country is classified by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 170e out of 189 for its human development index. Southern secession has plagued the Sudanese economy and the country has also suffered from twenty years of American embargo due to human rights violations and links to “terrorism”, until 2017, and its inscription on the American blacklist of countries supporting “terrorism”, until December 2020, hampering foreign investors.
Arrests of ministers, dissolution of institutions
Since Monday morning, the coup d’état has unfolded in several stages. General Abdel Fattah Al-Bourhane dissolved the transitional authorities. Abdallah Hamdok, the prime minister, many of his ministers and all civilian members of the Sovereignty Council – the highest authority in the transition – were arrested by the military. Mr. Hamdok was taken with his wife to an unknown location after refusing to support the ” Rebellion “ In progress. His services ensured in a text published in the middle of the day “Place full responsibility for the life of Abdallah Hamdok on the army” and called for “Manifest” against the ” Rebellion “ for “Protect the revolution” of 2019 that overthrew Al-Bashir.
Several hours after these arrests, General Al-Bourhane appeared on state television, promising the formation of a new government to “Correct the course of the transition”. The government is dissolved, as is the Sovereignty Council, he said, prefects and ministers are sacked, and a state of emergency is declared across the country, he added. He promised elections for July 2023. For supporters of civilian power, he is the one who wants to make Sudan the home of the army again, and for those who want a “Military government”, he is the providential man.
After playing a key but very discreet role as commander of the army before Omar Al-Bashir appointed him inspector general of the army, General Al-Bourhane emerged from the shadows on April 12, 2019 in taking command of the Transitional Military Council, following the fall of the dictator.
The reasons for the coup
Since 2019 and the fall of Al-Bashir, power has been shared between the civilian government headed by Mr. Hamdok and the Sovereignty Council responsible for leading the transition, but the coup comes amid heightened tensions between civilians and military.
The leadership of the Sovereignty Council was to be transferred to a civilian figure in the coming months and the military had so far affirmed their willingness to respect the transition process. However, the exact date of this transfer of power was not yet known precisely. In addition, the transitional authorities were struggling to agree on whether or not Al-Bashir should be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On October 16, army supporters pitched their tents in front of the presidential palace where the transitional authorities are based. In response, on October 21, supporters of civil power took to the streets of the country by tens of thousands to ” to save “ their “Revolution”. Two days ago, the pro civilian camp warned against a “Rampant coup”, during a press conference that a small crowd had sought to prevent.
Demonstrations and calls for civil disobedience
Even before General Al-Bourhane spoke, thousands of Sudanese took to the streets to scold the army. “Two demonstrators” supporters of civil power were killed and “More than 80 other wounded” by army fire in Khartoum, announced a union of pro-democracy doctors.
The army, supported by paramilitaries from the Rapid Support Forces, deployed in the streets of Khartoum to restrict movement there. Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV channel reported the closure of Khartoum airport and the suspension of international flights.
It’s a ” military coup “, quickly affirmed the Association of Sudanese Professionals, one of the spearheads of the revolt of 2019. Along with the Union of Doctors and Banks, the Association of Professionals also called for civil disobedience in Khartoum plunged into the chaos, without internet and with crowded streets wondering what new twist to expect in a country already shaken by a failed coup a month ago.