Sudan’s PM Abdalla Hamdok reinstated but crisis ‘not over’, UN says

Sudanese military has restored ousted prime minister but trouble is brewing

Protesters block a street during a rally in Khartoum this week to protest the deal in which Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was reinstated after his removal in October. AFP
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The UN envoy to Sudan on Friday said the country’s political crisis was “not over yet” as many feel “betrayed” by the deal that reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, with some people turning to violence.

Volker Perthes said Sudanese campaigners were angered by the new military-led political set-up and are increasingly determined to realise the goals of the unfinished 2019 pro-democracy revolution.

Sudan has been roiled by protests since Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan seized power in October, detained Mr Hamdok and former Cabinet members for several weeks before striking a deal last month for his return.

“This crisis is not over yet,” Mr Perthes told the UN Security Council.

“The agreement is far from perfect but can help to avoid further bloodshed.”

The agreement faces “significant opposition” from some Sudanese political factions and the large protest movement that has pushed for democracy since the overthrow in 2019 of former president Omar Al Bashir, he said.

The political coalition Forces of Freedom and Change, Sudan’s resistance committees, activists and others “feel betrayed by the coup and now reject any negotiations or partnership with the military”, said Mr Perthes.

“The Sudanese men and women’s unwavering commitment to realise civilian-led democratic governance cannot be overlooked,” the German academic noted.

“They have remained and seem to remain steadfast in their resolve.”

At least 44 protesters have been killed and hundreds wounded since the coup, said Mr Perthes, who spent weeks shuttling between army chiefs, the detained Mr Hamdok and others in an effort to resolve the coup crisis.

At the weekend, security forces fired teargas to disperse protesters marching near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum. Rallies were reportedly also held in the cities of Omdurman, Kassala, Sennar and Port Sudan.

Sudan’s military seized power on October 25, dissolving the transitional government, arresting dozens of officials and politicians, and upending a fragile planned transition to democratic rule that was agreed to following the 2019 revolution.

Mr Hamdok was reinstated on November 21 amid international pressure in a deal that calls for an independent technocratic Cabinet under military oversight and the release of government officials and politicians detained since the coup.

The prime minister has yet to announce his Cabinet, which is likely to face opposition from a pro-democracy movement that has rejected last month’s deal and insists on handing power to a civilian government to lead the transition.

Activists seek the restructuring of the military under civilian oversight, purging officers loyal to Al Bashir and disbanding a paramilitary group led by Gen Mohammed “Hemedti” Dagalo, a co-architect of the coup.

Meanwhile, tribal fighting in the western Darfur region has killed more than 130 people in recent weeks, authorities said, after fighting broke out on November 17 between armed Arab camel herders in the rugged Jebel Moon area.

Updated: December 10, 2021, 5:20 PM