Sudan's Al Burhan 'trying to convince ousted PM to return' as protests rage

If Abdalla Hamdok does not return, Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan said he would name a PM in a week

Sudan's military takeover leader has said he is trying to persuade ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to return and form a new government.

But if Mr Hamdok does not return, a new prime minister will be named, Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan said.

“Until this night, we were sending him people and telling [Abdalla Hamdok] ... complete the path with us. Until this meeting with you, we were sending him people to negotiate with him and we are still having hope,” Gen Al Burhan said in a speech on Thursday evening.

“We told him that we cleaned the stage for you ... he is free to form the government. We will not intervene in the government formation, anyone he will bring, we will not intervene at all".

But Gen Al Burhan later told Russia's state-owned Sputnik news agency that the new premier would be appointed in a week and will form a Cabinet that will share leadership of the country with the armed forces.

“We have a patriotic duty to lead the people and help them in the transition period until elections are held,” Gen Al Burhan said in the interview.

Gen Al Burhan has faced a backlash from the international community and on the streets of Sudan against the takeover, which removed the civilian half of the transitional government on Monday.

The move came just a month before the military was due to hand over leadership of the Sovereign Council to the civilian led Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) as part of a power-sharing agreement eventually leading to elections.

The council was formed after the removal of dictator Omar Al Bashir – who had ruled for 29 years – by popular revolt and eventual assistance from the military.

Mr Hamdok, an economist and former senior UN official, was initially held at Gen Al Burhan's residence, after soldiers rounded up the government on Monday.

He was allowed to return home under guard on Tuesday.

Mr Hamdok's allies say he has refused requests from the military leaders to co-operate, and has demanded civilian power-sharing be restored and arrested ministers freed.

The office of the UN representative to Sudan said on Thursday he had offered to facilitate a political settlement towards restoring the transition,during a meeting with Gen Al Burhan.

The takeover has led to a storm of street protests demanding the restoration of a civilian government. At least nine people have been killed by security forces, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee and activists. At least 170 have been wounded, according to the UN.

Pro-democracy activist groups have called for “million-person” marches on Saturday to bring the takeover to a halt.

The US urged the military to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters at Saturday's protest.

"Tomorrow is going to be a real indication of what the military intentions are," said a senior State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

"We call on the security forces to refrain from any and all violence against protesters and to fully respect the citizens' right to demonstrate peacefully," the official said.

Updated: October 29th 2021, 5:25 PM
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