The Sudan military coup: the past & the present


How did the Sudan military coup begin?

In December 2018, the government tried to stave off economic collapse brought on by years of US sanctions and loss of oil revenue. It did so by imposing emergency austerity measures and a sharp currency devaluation. Cuts to bread and fuel subsidies sparked demonstrations in the east. This happened above the living standards. But the anger soon spread to the capital, Khartoum. The lifting of most sanctions in 2017 failed to help the country. The country had lost most of its oil fields when South Sudan became independent in 2011. This was the beginning of the Sudan military coup.

How did the protests evolve?

Initially, they focused on rising costs but quickly widened into demands for the removal of President Bashir who was in charge for nearly 30 years, and his government. The protests reached a climax on the date of 6 April. This day was the anniversary of a 1985 non-violent uprising that removed then-dictator Jaafar Nimeiri. Protesters adopted slogans of regime change that echoed about the Arab Spring of 2011. They gathered outside the headquarters of the military in the capital and refused to move.

Who has been in control since the coup?

When he announced the “uprooting of the regime” on 15th April 2019, Lt Gen Awad Ibn Auf said that there would be a three-month state of emergency and a two-year transition period to prepare for civilian rule. He appeared to side with the protesters. He said that “for a long time, examining what’s going on in the state and the corruption, the poor are poorer and the rich are still rich, and there are no equal chances for the same people.”

On the next day, in the face of continued protests, Mr. Ibn Auf himself stood down. Along with him, the feared security chief Gen Salah Gosh also stood down. The government named Lt Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan as head of the transitional military council. He was to become Sudan’s third leader in as many days. According to the foreign ministry, Gen Burhan was “committed to having a complete civilian government“.

What happened on 25th October 2021?

However, thousands of Sudanese pro-democracy protesters streamed into the streets of the capital on 25th October 2021 to reject the military coup of the transitional government. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan declared a state of emergency across the strategic nation in the Horn of Africa. He also announced the dissolution of the transitional government, which included both civilian and military officials. According to him, people would soon appoint a new caretaker government to lead the country to elections in July 2023.

The statement followed reports earlier Monday from the Sudanese Information Ministry and several government officials that Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife, and other civilian leaders had been detained by the military. The ministry said that they took Mr. Hamdok and the others to an undisclosed location. This happened after the prime minister declined to endorse what it said was a military coup. “We call on the Sudanese people to go out and demonstrate and use all the peaceful means to recover their revolution from any kidnapper,” the ministry said.

What happened to the protesters of the coup?

The information ministry said soldiers fired live bullets at protesters that had gathered around the military headquarters in Khartoum. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said that at least three protesters had been killed by gunfire and that it was investigating reports of more than 80 others who were injured.

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