Sudan’s Turmoil: Unraveling the Power Struggle and Path to Democracy
- There were protests in December 2018 wherein in the Sudanese citizens protested against inflation and economic issues. Later the same protestors demanded resignation of Omar Al Bashir’s rule. Even when the Government used violence to suppress these protests they continued into 2019.
- Omar al-Bashir was the President of Sudan from 1989 to 2019. His regime was responsible for civil wars, economic difficulties, and human rights abuses. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants on him and charged him for war crimes and genocide in Darfur.
- Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA): SPA was made up of professionals from all fields and they were the key organisers of almost all protests.
- On April 11, 2019, the Sudanese military announced that it had removed Omar Al-Bashir and established a transitional military council to govern the country. This council was named The Sovereign Council. This council’s main tasl was to lead Sudan towards democratic elections. General Awad Ibn Auf initially led the council , but he stepped down after just one day due to continued protests. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan then took over from him and then he assumed the leadership of the transitional military council.
- Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as “Hemedti,” played an important role in Sudan in 2019. He is the commander of RSF. RSF emerged from the Janjaweed militia which was accused of committing human rights violations during the Darfur Conflict.
What is happening in Sudan now ?
The strife in Sudan continued on the third day and as it continued it has created unease amongst International Organisations. The skirmishes started on Saturday. The warring parties were Sudan’s military forces and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which is a paramilitary force commanded by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
Sudan’s Military HQ and the presidential palace is located in Khartoum. This is the place where a major portion of the conflict has taken place. There were mortars and artillery shells fired in Khartoum. Interestingly the Khartoum Airport and the Sudanese Military Garrison experience numerous aerial assaults which were dominated by military aircrafts and helicopters. The Sudanese Army General’s Command was burnt completely.
How many killed and Injured ?
A total of 100 people (3 of them include United Nations staff members) have been killed and 1500 plus have been wounded.
The Government owned and operated National Television Channel which is now not online has been taken over by RSF. The Khartoum International Airport is now controlled by RSF including a few other government buildings.
The United Nations (UN) has temporarily suspended its Sudanese operations. Unfortunately UN lost three of their staff members in this ongoing conflict.
International Community’s response
- Qatar Airways has suspended flights to and from Khartoum
- Mexico is working intensely to evacuate its citizens
- United States has advised their citizens to remain indoor. Currently they do not plan on evacuating their citizens. If need be they will evacuate private citizens shortly.
Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Sudanese Military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan are the main characters of this skirmish.
The talks aimed to mix the RSF into the country’s military as part of the transition to civilian governance is the main issue.
RSF officers’ future, and whether the RSF should be controlled by the army chief rather than Sudan’s commander-in-chief, who is presently Burhan is also one of the points which both parties have conflict of views.