Sudan's military head appoints new apex council after takeover

The last Sovereignty Council was dissolved on October 25 when the military took control of Sudan

Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan has issued a constitutional decree forming a new ruling Sovereignty Council, state TV said on Thursday.

Sudan has been without a Sovereignty Council for over two weeks, after an October 25 takeover led by Gen Al Burhan dissolved the old body and detained dozens of government staff.

He will keep his position as head of the transitional body and Gen Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, leader of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, remains his deputy.

Gen Al Burhan and Gen Dagalo were due to hand over its leadership to a civilian in the coming months.

Other military figures on the new council include Shamsaldine Al Kabashi, Yasser Atta, and Ibrahim Gaber.

Civilian members include former parliamentarian Abou Al Qassem Bortoum, Salma Abdelgaber, Youssef Karim from North Kordofan state, Abdelbaqi Al Zubair representing Khartoum state and Rajaa Nicola.

Ex-rebel leaders Malik Agar, Alhady Idris and Altaher Hagar, who signed a 2020 peace deal with the government, also secured seats.

"The commander-in-chief of the armed forces issued a constitutional decree to form the Transitional Sovereignty Council," said Gen Al Burhan.

The military took control of Sudan on October 25, ousting civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and detaining more than 100 government officials, most of whom remain in custody. Mr Hamdok is under house arrest at his home in Sudan's capital Khartoum.

Sudan's ousted Information Minister Hamza Balloul called the announcement an extension of the coup. He said in a statement that he was “confident that the Sudanese people can defeat the coup and continue the transition."

The takeover sparked protests across the country, where at least 14 people were killed by security forces, Sudanese doctors said. Large demonstrations against the coup are planned for Saturday.

Protesters are finding it difficult to organise under an internet blackout, ordered to end by a judicial order on Tuesday, but still largely in place.

The judge on Thursday repeated the order for Zain, MTN and local providers Sudatel and Canar to restore services, pending the announcement of any damages to be paid to subscribers.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants to "see a return to the transition as quickly as possible," a UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday, and called for the release of Mr Hamdok and other political leaders.

The Sovereignty Council was appointed on August 20, 2019, four months after the toppling of Al Bashir, by agreement between the Transitional Military Council and the alliance of Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which represents the Sudanese opposition parties.

The original constitutional document stipulated that the council would assume the leadership of the country during a transitional period of 39 months to be followed by general elections in 2023.

The council initially consisted of 11 members — five military officers nominated by the Transitional Military Council, and six civilians nominated by the FFC.

Last February, Gen Al Burhan issued a decree appointing three new members to the Sovereignty Council to include leaders of former rebel movements in regions such as Darfur, who joined the government after signing a peace agreement in October 2020, bringing the number of council members to 14.

Updated: November 11th 2021, 6:58 PM