Early in April of this year, after months of protests, Sudan’s leader Omar Al-Bashir was forced to step down. Following this removal, Defence Minister Awan Ibn Ouf made the announcement that the country would be placed under a three-month state of emergency and proceed forward with a two-year transitional period to form a new government. Protesters felt that this would become yet another version of the same military regime that they have been trapped in and thus continued to protest, arguing that the people should be ruling their country.
In the days leading up to the declaration of a civilian-centric transitional government, violence around the country escalated. Only hours before the recent announcement, at least six people were killed while participating in a sit-in in front of the government. The military refused to take responsibility for this, saying they were unsure how these killings had happened. After the toppling of Al-Bashir, the military became increasingly desparate to keep hold of their power and felt that violence was the only way to solve this issue, disregarding the pleas from protesters to have their requests listened to and discussed.
On May 15th, the announcement finally came that a three-year transitional period had been agreed on, moving the government away from being military-led, and instead becoming civilian based. This transitional period will be to organise the new structure of the government, including both the legislative and supreme councils, as well as signing peace accords with zones that were most heavily affected by the oppressive regime.
Compromises have been made between the Defence Minister and the Alliance of Freedom and Change, who have been spearheading the majority of the protests. The Transitional Military Council has been created as a medium for both of these groups to discuss the future of the country, and this group have agreed on civilians within the legislative council holding two thirds of the power, and the final third coming from members outside of this alliance. However, both sides are reluctant to give up on their majority in the sovereign council at this stage.
The situation is still tense: the following day, talks came to a standstill after protesters refused to remove barricades. This latest development meant the violence was again escalating, with protesters being killed as a result for not following the commands of the military. There are concerns that these types of standstills may continue throughout the negotiation process, rather than each side continuing on with the peace talks that are needed.