Sudanese general tightens grip on power, 2 weeks after coup

Sudan’s top general has re-appointed himself as head of the army-run interim governing body, a sign that he is tightening his grip on the country, two weeks after he led a coup against civilian leaders

Via AP news wire
Thursday 11 November 2021 16:30

Sudan’s top general has re-appointed himself as head of the army-run interim governing body, a sign that he is tightening his grip on the country two weeks after he led a coup against civilian leaders.

There was no immediate reaction by pro-democracy groups to the move by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan on Thursday.

The development comes even as the military has pledged to hand over power to civilian authorities. Since the Oct. 25 coup, more than 100 government officials and political leaders have been detained, along with a large number of protesters and activists.

Sudan has been in the midst of a fragile transitional period after a 2019 pro-democracy uprising led to the removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir from power. The eleven-member Sovereign Council was first formed in summer 2019 after the military signed a power-sharing deal with pro-democracy forces.

The agreement stipulated then that the council should include five civilians chosen by activist, five military representatives and one member to be chosen in agreement between civilians and the generals.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

CAIRO (AP) — Internet access remains largely disrupted in Sudan since last month’s military coup, despite a court order for providers to restore services, an advocacy group said Thursday.

According to a tweet by NetBlocks, the disruption is now in its eighteenth day and represents an “ongoing impediment” to democracy and human rights. A Sudanese court ruled on Wednesday, ordering the country’s three main telecommunications providers to restore internet access. However, authorities have not shown any sign yet of carrying out that order.

Internet disruptions have become common in Sudan since nationwide protests erupted in late 2018, leading to the military’s removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. In an attempt at the time to quell protests, authorities disrupted social media for 68 days, according to the London-based NetBlocks.

On Oct. 25, the Sudanese military seized power, dissolving the country’s transitional government and detaining more than 100 government officials and political leaders, along with a large number of protesters and activists. Almost all still remain in custody. The army also placed the country’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok under house arrest at his residence in the capital of Khartoum

Since the takeover, at least 14 anti-coup protesters have been killed due to excessive force used by the country’s security forces, according to Sudanese doctors and the United Nations The coup has been condemned by the U.N., the United States and the European Union which have been urging the generals to restore a military-civilian transitional government. Mediation efforts are ongoing to resolve the crisis.

On Wednesday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that U.N. Special Representative for Sudan Volker Perthes met the previous day with the head of the Sudanese military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan.

In the talks, the special representative urged for “a return to the transitional partnership" and appealed on the military “to exercise restraint and to take de-escalation measures, including freeing all those people who have been detained and the prime minister who remains under house detention," said Dujarric.

Dujarric also said the U.N. Secretary General António Guterres spoke with the ousted premier, Hamdok, earlier in the week.

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