Western powers have suspended economic aid going into Sudan to condemn the Sudanese military take over. Army Chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan declared a state of emergency in October 2021 and dissolved Sudan’s transitional government deposing Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Opposition to the coup has been taking place regularly in various locations across the country, including Port Sudan, Kassala, Atbara and Nyala.
On November 25, protestors crowded near the Presidential Palace in the capital city of Khartoum and marched in opposition to the military takeover. Videos documenting the event showed how the military’s armoured vehicles were positioned to prevent crowds from reaching the Presidential Palace itself. Individuals were heard chanting phrases such as ‘soldier go back to the barracks.’ Reports show several Sudanese died at the protest due to being severely beaten with rocks by the military. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors has been keeping track of casualties and reported that approximately 42 people had been killed so far due to the intense protests.
The number of deaths does not come as a surprise since the military has been using aggressive retaliation tactics to disperse the pro-democracy protests. The use of stun grenades and tear gas have both become widespread, along with the practice of protestors being chased and arrested. However, the military officials hold that the takeover was desperately needed to “set Sudan’s transition back on track.” They emphasized that peaceful rallies are allowed to occur, which is ironic since the military usually instigates violence. When asked about their involvement in the deaths, the military placed the blame on the disorganization of the police and the hidden agendas of political factions.
One of the main reasons for the public outcry is because Prime Minister Hamdok was released after being under house arrest as per the demands of the military. The security forces had detained several popular political figures as a way to take over the country. Detainees continue to be held in Soba prison along with the men, women and children who were arrested during the protests. However, the Prime Minister and a few politicians were freed on November 21st based on a deal that Sudan’s pro-democracy leaders condemned. After he was released, the Prime Minister repeatedly defended his decision to agree to the terms of the 14-point deal, claiming that the deal would help put an end to the crackdown on protests and preserve billions of foreign aid. However, many of the Sudanese have reported feeling betrayed by the actions of Hamdok.
The Prime Minister continues to promise the people of Sudan that he will introduce a technocratic government, consisting of qualified and educated professionals, who will assist him in leading the country towards democracy. He pledged to work towards creating Sudan an independent state by creating a cabinet, establishing a constitutional conference and holding elections by June 2023.
On the other hand, resistance committees continue to speak out against Hamdock, claiming that none of the politicians or generals working towards democracy are trustworthy. Many have said that the leaders ‘belong in the wallows’ as they suspect they participate in the coups.
As the fight for civilian control over Sudan continues, it becomes the duty of journalism companies to report the incidents taking place to spread awareness about the issue. The emergence of more global issues such as the new Omicron variant has taken the spotlight for many news headlines, yet the suffering of Sudanese people should not be ignored. Generally, incidents occurring in African countries are overshadowed in the international arena. Still, human rights abuse should be given the same amount of attention if it were happening to an industrialized country such as the U.S.
Although Western countries and the African Union reduced foreign aid to display their discontent with the coup, international organizations, especially the World Bank, should spend more time brainstorming more ways of tackling the issue. The sudden cut is bound to break down Sudan’s fragile economy, which comes with a substantial human cost. The protection and safety of the innocent Sudanese population should be the main priority while addressing the issue.
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