Friday, January 28

In Sudan, the Prime Minister gone, the streets fear a return to dictatorship

The soldiers are alone in control Monday in Sudan after the resignation of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, a departure which raises fears of a return to dictatorship in the country plunged into deadly violence since the putsch.

Sad record since the coup d’etat of October 25 fomented by the head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane: 57 demonstrators were killed according to a union of pro-democracy doctors. Protesters have also been raped according to the UN, many journalists beaten and even arrested while the internet and the telephone only work at the will of the government.

At the end of November and after a month under house arrest, Mr. Hamdok had returned to his post after an agreement with General Burhane.

“Paralyzed” and having “been unable to accomplish anything” since, in the words of Rift Valley Institute researcher Magdi Gizouli, the Prime Minister threw in the towel on Sunday. And most importantly, made the equation in Sudan clearer.

On the one hand, Mr. Gizouli told AFP, “the soldiers alone in command” and on the other, “the demonstrators who will still go out into the streets and face more violence”.

– “Facade” fallen –

“It is an open confrontation between the security forces and the former regime on the one hand – but this time without Bashir – and on the other a movement without a leader in the street which is only due to youth activism” , summarizes the researcher.

Many figures of the regime of the former dictator Omar al-Bashir, deposed in 2019 by the army under pressure from the street, are still in power, including Mr. Burhane, commander of the army under the dictator.

For the street, the return to the popular revolt is recorded. This time she intends to bring down General Burhane.

The spearhead of the revolt against Bashir, and against the military since October 25, the Sudanese Professionals Association, has already called for new demonstrations on Tuesday.

As of Monday, the security forces blocked the bridge connecting Khartoum to Omdurman, its northwestern suburb, where again two demonstrators were killed on Sunday.

“Hamdok’s resignation robs the generals of their facade and clearly shows that the coup is nothing more than a return to Bashir’s military-Islamist policy,” tweeted Kholood Khair, a specialist in Sudan for Insight Strategy partners.

On October 25, General Burhane extended his tenure for two years, erasing any idea of ​​a transfer of power to civilians before the end of the transition he always promises for July 2023 with elections.

Two months later, he authorized with an “emergency decree” the security forces to “enter any building, search it and the people therein” and “carry out surveillance and seizures. “.

And this by informing only the Sovereignty Council, directed by itself, and by effectively overriding justice.

– “Atmosphere of freedom” –

In addition, members of the security services – army, police, intelligence but also paramilitary forces of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) accused of abuses in Darfur – enjoy immunity and cannot be questioned.

An adviser to General Burhane, Taher Abou Haja, justified the arrangements “normal in view of the current circumstances”, saying that “some parties are exploiting the atmosphere of freedom to create chaos”.

But for opponents, the 57 demonstrators killed and hundreds injured, as well as the arrests, are proof that this text actually reinforces the repression in a country which, since its independence 65 years ago, has known only a handful of years out of the hands of the generals.

The UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, said he “regrets” the resignation of Mr. Hamdok, saying he is “concerned about the ongoing political crisis (…) which risks further undermining the progress made. since the revolution “.

The United States called on “the Sudanese leaders to put aside their differences (to) ensure the continuity of civil power” and Britain said it was “very saddened” by the departure of Mr. Hamdok.

“The longer the Americans and Europeans wait to show the generals the consequences of their actions, the more they can consolidate their economic and political power at the expense of the Sudanese,” warns John Prendergast of the think tank The Sentry.

Quoted in a statement Monday evening, General Burhane stressed to officials of the armed forces “the importance of forming an independent government with specific tasks accepted by all Sudanese”.

He also insisted on “the need (…) to hold elections” and “to move away from narrow partisan interests”.

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