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Sudan PM Hamdok reinstated after coup, protester killed

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Sudan PM Hamdok reinstated after coup, protester killed

Sudan‘s deposed prime minister and the top general who toppled him a month ago signed a grand agreement Sunday to reverse the military takeover, but protests continued and a teenager died.

Thousands of protesters in multiple demonstrations rejected the agreement, shouting “No to military power” and demanding that the armed forces completely withdraw from the government.

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, doctors said, bringing the total death toll since last month’s coup to 41.

Several other people suffered gunshot wounds after clashes with security forces, they added.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan appeared at the presidential palace in Khartoum for a televised ceremony with a haggard-looking prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, emerging from weeks of house arrest.

The 14-point agreement they signed officially reestablishes the transition to a civilian government that had been derailed by the October 25 coup in the poverty-stricken African country.

The agreement, which comes after crisis talks involving Sudanese, UN, African and Western actors, stated that Burhan’s decision “to relieve the transitional prime minister (of his duties) is canceled.”

He said that all political detainees would be released and formally relaunched the fragile process of transition to full democracy that began after the 2019 ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

‘Confidence measures’
Hamdok praised the “revolution” of popular power that brought him to the government and declared that the top priority now was “to stop the bloodshed in Sudan before anything else.”

“We leave the choice of who governs Sudan to its powerful people,” he said.

Burhan thanked Hamdok for his service and promised that “free and transparent elections” would be held as part of the transition process.

“He was patient with us until we got to this point,” Burhan said before posing for photos with the reinstated prime minister and his own deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

The agreement was welcomed by the African Union, the United Nations, the United States, Sweden, as well as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have strong ties to the Sudanese military.

The African Union said it was “an important step towards a return to constitutional order.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter that he was “encouraged” by the talks, and at the same time called for “security forces to refrain from exerting excessive force against peaceful protesters.”

The UN highlighted the “need to protect the constitutional order to safeguard the basic freedoms of political action, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

And Norway, which has been involved in crisis talks since the coup, called for “concrete confidence-building measures.”

‘Safeguard freedoms’
But thousands of people demonstrated again in Khartoum and across Sudan on Sunday, and were confronted in the capital by security forces who fired tear gas.

The police deny having fired live ammunition and insist that they have used “minimal force” to disperse the protests. They have only registered one death among the protesters, in the north of Khartoum.

The main civilian bloc that led the protests against Bashir and signed the 2019 power-sharing agreement with the military strongly rejected Sunday’s agreement.

“We affirm our clear and previously stated position that there is no negotiation, there is no association, there is no legitimacy for the coup,” said the dominant faction of the Forces for Freedom and Change.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a group of unions that helped topple Bashir, described Sunday’s deal as “political suicide” for Hamdok.

At a demonstration in northern Khartoum, protesters also chanted anti-Hamdok slogans and smashed his portrait. “Hamdok is weak but the streets are powerful,” they shouted.

“Hamdok has really let people down,” protester Mohamed Abdelnabi said. “This agreement does not represent the Sudanese people.”

Thousands also demonstrated in Omdurman, as well as in the eastern state of Kassala, the restless eastern coastal city of Port Sudan and the northern city of Atbara, witnesses said.

History of coups
Sudan, which is mired in a severe economic crisis, has a long history of military coups, having enjoyed only rare interludes of democratic rule since independence in 1956.

The return of Hamdok, a British-educated economist who has worked for the United Nations and African organizations, has been a key demand from the international community.

Burhan, who served under the Bashir government for three decades, became Sudan’s de facto leader after the military overthrew and imprisoned the president after months of massive street protests.

The veteran general has headed a Sovereign Council of military and civilian figures, with Hamdok as prime minister at the helm of the cabinet.

But long-standing tensions between the military and civilian sides clouded the transition until Burhan organized the army’s takeover last month.

Burhan has insisted that the military’s move “was not a coup” but a step “to rectify the transition.”

Source Credit: TheGuardian

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