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The Sudanese army has seized power in a coup. Here’s what you need to know

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KHARTOUM, Sudan – Sudanese men protest military coup that overthrew the transition to civilian rule on October 25, 2021 in al-Shajara district in southern Khartoum

Photo by AFP via Getty Images

A coup in Sudan has faced widespread international condemnation amid growing fears about the country’s transition and democratic economy.

The army arrested civilian Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and disbanded the country’s transitional government on Monday, sparking protests in several cities. According to Reuters, seven people were killed and 140 were injured in the ensuing clashes between security forces and protesters.

Experts say the coup could have a serious impact on the country and beyond.

of coup

Tensions in Sudan have been simmering since a coup attempt on September 21, with the country divided between supporters of pro-military and pro-civilian rule.

On Monday, Hamdok and several other government officials moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to support the latest coup.

KHARTOUM, Sudan – Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok is chairing an emergency cabinet meeting in the capital Khartoum on October 18, 2021.

AFP through Getty Images

Access to telecommunications has been restricted and various media outlets have reported that the army has blocked roads and bridges in the capital Khartoum.

Zaynab Mohamed, a political analyst at Oxford Economics Africa, said in a note Monday that while these restrictions make the situation difficult to assess in real time, a coup attempt appeared to be in progress.

“The continuing rift between the government’s civilian and military factions has raised questions about whether the fragile power-sharing deal will continue until democratic elections are held in 2023, and the current situation suggests it is unlikely to last,” Mohamed said.

“If the military takes over, it will halt the transition to democracy, which threatens the support of international donors and easing the IMF debt, and ultimately paves the way for the country’s economic revival.”

Economic impact

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. former dictator Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown. in April 2019. Pro-civilian demonstrators have also appeared in Khartoum in recent weeks.

“The coup comes amid acute tension between the military and civilian factions of the Sudan Sovereignty Council, where each blames the other for failing to resolve the cost-of-living crisis that has continued since the beginning of the year,” he said. Edward Hobey-Hamsher, senior analyst in Africa at political risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

The cost-of-living crisis has been exacerbated by an effective blockade on Port Sudan by tribal protesters from the northeast. Among other demands, these demonstrators oppose the annulment of the Juba Peace Agreement signed between the government and rebel groups in October 2020, which they argue does not represent their interests.

OMDURMAN, Sudan – Sudanese security forces keep vigilant as they guard a military hospital and government offices during protests against a military coup that overthrew the transition to civilian rule on October 25, 2021 in the twin city of the capital Omdurman.

AFP through Getty Images

The blockade has burdened government supplies with essential medicines, fuel and wheat, plunging the country’s economic and humanitarian situation deeper into mud.

Democratic transition

Sudan became independent from British-Egyptian rule in 1956 and has since endured a series of parliamentary governments and shaky military regimes.

After a number of coups and a protracted civil war, The country voted for independence and became a separate state of South Sudan in 2011. Disputes over demarcation and distribution of revenues from natural resources have continued, and the IMF estimates that Sudan’s GDP halved between 2011 and 2019 after oil breakup – rich south.

A Sovereign Military-Civil Council was set up after al-Bashir was ousted in 2019 in a bid to push Sudan toward democracy, with elections scheduled for 2023. However, this transitional government was ousted on Monday by the coup leader, general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who subsequently declared a state of emergency.

Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, stressed that the sacrifices of the Sudanese people working towards a fairer and more respectful rights Sudan were now in jeopardy.

“The military authorities should instruct the security forces to respect and fully protect the right of the people to protest and that any member who uses excessive force will be held immediately accountable,” she said.

Wider implications

Located in Northeast Africa, Sudan is politically important for stability in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Sahel. The vast country lies between Egypt in the north and Ethiopia and Eritrea in the south. It borders Libya to the northwest and extends northeast to the Red Sea, beyond which lies Saudi Arabia.

The great Western powers had resumed cooperation with Sudan after the formation of the transitional government in 2020.

Among the international transition allies were the US, Israel and Russia, which all joined the UAE and Saudi Arabia to provide $ 3 billion in funding to the Sovereignty Council.

In 2020, Sudan and Israel agreed on a normalization of relations after UAE officials mediated the meetings, while the Russian Ministry of Defense entered into a 25-year agreement with Sudanese authorities to establish a new naval base for Russian troops. in Port Sudan.

KHARTUM, Sudan – Sudanese demonstrators take to the streets of the capital Khartoum to demand the transfer of government to civilian rule on October 21, 2021.

ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP via Getty Images

The country is also rich in natural gas, gold, silver, zinc, iron and chrome. In January 2020, Sudan opened its gold market to generate revenue and the new government sought ways to ensure safer mining and a greater contribution to public finances.

The promised reform, both internally and in terms of international relations and stability, hangs in the balance in light of Monday’s coup.

International punishment

The United States, Britain and Norway have all condemned the coup and called on security forces to release illegally arrested government officials, in a joint Troika statement released by American state Department.

The Biden administration also stopped handing over $ 700 million in urgent economic support to Sudan.

Human Rights Watch called on the United States, Britain and Germany, which in recent days have expressed support for Sudan’s civilian transition, to ensure that military leaders do not undermine or reverse progress on the country’s reform agenda. .

“Shares could not be higher now,” Segun said. “Sudan’s international and regional partners need to make it clear that small but important steps towards repairing past damage and creating a more positive rights framework should not be missed.”

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