Abdullah Hamduk was arrested in a military coup last month and was being held at the home of army chief al-Burhan. This morning it was announced in Sudan that the two had agreed that Hamduk would return to the post. Background: Western pressure on Sudan to return power to civilian government
Sources in Sudan report this morning (Sunday) that the army commander, ‘Abd al-Fatah al-Burhan, has agreed with Prime Minister Abdullah Hamduk on his return to office. Hamduk was arrested last month during the military coup. He was detained at al-Burhan’s home and released after a day. He has since been under house arrest.
Sources mediated between the parties said that the two had agreed on Hamduk’s return to the Prime Minister’s Office, and that according to the agreement being formed, Hamduk would head a new government composed of independent technocrats. Under the agreement, Sudan will release politicians who have been detained since the October military coup.
Since 2019, when dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted, Sudan has ruled the “Sovereignty Council” – which has divided power between the military and civilian elements in the African country. Alongside the council, a civilian government headed by Hamduk was formed, which was responsible for managing Sudan’s civil affairs. On October 25, General al-Burhan declared a state of emergency and disbanded the government and the Sovereignty Council. He accused politicians of inciting against security forces. The army established a new council of sovereignty, headed by al-Burhan.
Al-Burhan said last month that the steps taken in Sudan were necessary because the power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian elements had become a power struggle, threatening the peace and security of the country. He argued that the military would continue the process of transition to democracy – which began after the overthrow of al-Bashir – until power finally passed to the civilian government. Al-Burhan has promised that elections will be held in July 2023 at the latest.
After the military coup, Sudanese protesters took to the streets en masse. Doctors in the country said a few days ago that at least 15 protesters had been shot dead by security forces in protest against the coup. In the days following the coup, Western nations decided to halt aid to Sudan, calling on the military to restore the status quo. Sudanese mediating between al-Burhan and Hamduk – which included academics, journalists and politicians – said the UN and the US had played a critical role in the agreement being formed between the parties.
Al-Arabiya reported that during the night, al-Burhan and Hamduk met. Al-Arabiya noted that this was their first meeting since Hamduk left al-Burhan’s home – where he was being held in custody.
The agreement between the parties supposedly restores the situation to its former state as they demanded in the West: cooperation between the military and civilian elements in Sudan, ostensibly represented by al-Burhan and Hamduk. The civilian elements in Sudan, who are leading the protest against the coup, are strongly opposed to any cooperation with the military. Opponents of the military coup plan to continue protesting even today.