Sudan's military hints at rejecting UN effort to end political crisis

Regime's deputy leader speaks against 'interference' in its domestic affairs

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Himediti, deputy head of Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries, attends a rally in the village of Abraq, about 60 kilometers northwest of Khartoum, on June 22, 2019. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
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Sudan’s military-led government has said the UN special envoy to the country should be a “facilitator and not a mediator”.

The second-in-command in the military regime, Gen Mohamed Dagalo, made the remarks amid UN efforts to launch a national dialogue to end the country’s political crisis.

Meanwhile, a protester was killed in Khartoum on Sunday during the latest rallies against a military coup last October that derailed Sudan's democratic transition after the 2019 overthrow of autocrat Omar Al Bashir.

The death was reported by a medical group aligned with the pro-democracy movement.

The death Mohammed Youssef Ismail, 27 took to 79 the number of protesters killed by security since the October 25 seizure of power by army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan.

Almost 3,000 people have been injured in the protests

Also on Sunday, security troops used tear gas and stun grenades to prevent protesters from reaching the Nile-side Republican Palace in central Khartoum.

Authorities closed several bridges over the river to stop large gatherings in the centre of the capital.

A UN mission led by special envoy Volker Perthes began consultations this month with Sudan’s political factions as a prelude to a national dialogue on the crisis.

The ruling Sovereign Council, which is led by Gen Al Burhan, has welcomed the UN initiative, but there have been signs in recent days that he and his associates may have had a change of heart.

Last week, the council was briefed by the acting foreign minister on what an official council statement said was the inappropriate conduct of unidentified foreign diplomatic missions in Khartoum.

The statement accused them of meddling in the country’s domestic affairs.

Anti-UN protest

Last week, thousands of pro-military protesters gathered outside the UN mission in Khartoum to call for Mr Perthes’s expulsion and an end to what they described as UN interference in Sudan’s affairs. Police did not intervene.

The comments on Saturday night by Gen Dagalo, deputy head of the Sovereign Council and the leader of a government-sanctioned militia, appeared to be the latest signal of the military’s rejection of the UN role.

“The head of the Unitams [UN Integrated Transition Mission in Sudan] should be a facilitator and not a mediator,” Gen Dagalo said.

He said the council was not shunning the international community but “rejects interference in our domestic affairs".

Gen Al Burhan has promised free elections next year, but the military's actions have drawn strong condemnation from the UN and western powers, and led to mass street protests that have been met with deadly force by security troops.

The UN and the US have demanded that the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters be stopped and called for an independent investigation into the killings.

They have voiced support for the pro-democracy movement, saying it represents the Sudanese people’s aspirations.

Updated: January 30, 2022, 7:48 PM