Sudanese Sovereign Council member resigns over killing of protesters

Aisha Musa said she submitted her resignation on May 12, a day after the deaths of two protesters

Aisha Musa greets players before Sudan's first women's league soccer match at the Khartoum Stadium on September 30, 2019. Reuters
Aisha Musa greets players before Sudan's first women's league soccer match at the Khartoum Stadium on September 30, 2019. Reuters

A member of Sudan's ruling military-civilian Sovereign Council has resigned in protest over the killing of two protesters during a demonstration this month, when the military dispersed a protest in Khartoum.

Aisha Musa said on Saturday that she submitted her resignation on May 12, a day after the demonstration outside the Sudanese armed forces headquarters to mark two years since a deadly crackdown on a pro-democracy sit-in held at the same spot.

More than three dozen people were wounded as the protest was dispersed, according to a local medical group. Prosecutors are questioning about 100 troops over the incident.

Ms Musa, one of only two women on the Sovereignty Council, accused the military-dominated transitional government of ignoring civilian voices and leading the country to "more killing, injustice, poverty and suffering".

"The civilian component in the sovereign [council] and at all levels of government has become just a logistical executive body that does not participate in decision-making," she said in a video statement carried by the state news agency SUNA.

"Rather, it only stamps the approval of pre-prepared decisions," she added.

Ms Musa complained that the investigation into the 2019 raid had not yet been completed. Activists say 130 people died in that raid and ensuing violence; the authorities have acknowledged 87 deaths.

The government established an independent committee in 2019 to probe the crackdown, but the panel repeatedly missed its deadlines for reporting, angering the victims’ families and protest groups.

Medics, protest groups and witnesses said security forces fired live rounds and tear gas at demonstrators marking the anniversary this month.

Ms Musa also accused the transitional authorities of delaying the formation of the Legislative Council, the third body to be constituted under a military-civilian power-sharing agreement, alongside the Sovereignty Council and the Cabinet.

There was no immediate response from the Sovereignty Council to Ms Musa's resignation.

The 14-member council was set up along with a cabinet of technocrats to steer Sudan through a transition to democracy after the army toppled long-serving autocrat Omar Al Bashir in April 2019 following months of popular protests.

Updated: May 23, 2021 10:57 AM

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