Sudan to prosecute former ruling party members following protests

Supporters of ousted ruler Omar Al Bashir accused of leading unrest in Khartoum and other cities

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference in Khartoum on February 8, 2021. Sudan's ruling body said today it would announce a new cabinet to include ex-rebel chiefs as ministers, following a peace deal in October aimed to end decades of war. Hamdok dissolved the cabinet the previous day to make way for a more inclusive lineup, with the new government expected to bring in seven ministers from former rebel groups.
 / AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY
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A committee tasked with dismantling the government of Sudan's ousted president Omar Al Bashir has issued a wide-ranging order to prosecute members of the former ruling party over violent protests last week across the country.

The decree directed state governors to take action through the public prosecutor against "all leaders of the dissolved National Congress Party, and its active cadres and the leaders of its facades".

Military generals dismissed Bashir in April 2019 and now rule in a fragile transitional arrangement with political parties that were part of the uprising against him.

Protests by Bashir-era loyalists turned violent in major cities across Sudan last week, with government buildings and vehicles set on fire and property pillaged.

Markets were looted in several cities, and a spokesman for the committee described the situation as an "economic war" against Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's government, which has struggled with price rises amid fuel and bread shortages.

While the NCP was formally dissolved after the coup, Bashir's supporters have led protests in Khartoum and other cities, and there have been reported coup plots and a botched assassination attempt on Mr Hamdok during the transitional period.

On Thursday the public prosecution issued an order for the arrest of eight men, including well-known Bashir allies suspected to have gone into hiding.

Mr Hamdok on Wednesday swore in a new cabinet and formed a working group of ministers to monitor the aftermath of the protests.

The committee in charge of dismantling Bashir's repressive ruling apparatus said it had received information about activities by former NCP members "to organise arson and looting and terrorise unarmed citizens".

Governors of several states said the protests were distinct from other, peaceful demonstrations held in protest against a worsening economic crisis.

"It was not isolated, nor was it a sudden act or reaction, but rather an arranged and politically planned action by the former regime," said North Darfur Governor Mohamed Hassan Al Arabi.