Sudan's military leader sacks 6 diplomats

October 28, 2021
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Buran sacked six diplomats.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Buran sacked six diplomats.

CAIRO — Sudan’s ruling junta has sacked at least six ambassadors, including the envoys to the US and the European Union.

The decision, announced late on Wednesday on state media, also included Sudan’s ambassadors to China, Qatar, France and the head of the country’s mission to the Swiss city of Geneva.

The ambassadors were fired two days after Gen. Abdel-Fattah Buran dissolved the transitional government and detained the prime minister, many government officials and political leaders. The military allowed Hamdok to return home Tuesday.

Meanwhile, protests denouncing the army’s power grab continued in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere, with many businesses shut in response to calls for strikes as part of a civil disobedience campaign that has also seen demonstrators blocking roads.

Reports said hundreds of protesters threw rocks at security forces dismantling street barricades in Khartoum’s eastern district of Burri, while in the capital’s north, security personnel fired tear gas and rubber bullets at dozens of demonstrators.

“Neighborhoods and streets have been blockaded by armored vehicles and men carrying rifles,” the information ministry, still loyal to Hamdok, said in a statement, also alleging that “women were dragged” to the ground.

No casualties were reported, but a young man died in a Khartoum hospital late Wednesday of wounds sustained in Monday’s protests, according to activist Nazim Siraj.

This raised to seven the number of protesters killed since Monday. More than 140 people have been wounded since the military’s takeover, according the activist.

Neighborhood committees have announced plans for further protests, leading to what they said would be a “march of millions” on Saturday.

Activists have been circulating videos on social media showing mostly empty streets in the capital, with most stores except for groceries and bakeries closed on Thursday. Earlier, protesters called for a national strike to pressure the military to relinquish power.

Burhan said the military forces were compelled to take over because of quarrels between political parties that he claimed could lead to civil war. However, the move also comes just weeks before Burhan would have had to hand over the leadership of the Sovereign Council, the ultimate decision-maker in Sudan, to a civilian, in a step that would reduce the military's hold on the country.

The council has military and civilian members. Hamdok's government ran Sudan's daily affairs.

The takeover came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of that process.

In another development, Burhan fired Adlan Ibrahim, head of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority, according to the official. Adlan’s dismissal came after the resumption of flights in and out of Khartoum’s international airport resumed Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear if Ibrahim's dismissal was linked to the reopening of the airport or whether the decision was made before then. The airport remained open Thursday morning.

Also on Thursday, the Friends of Sudan Group, which consists of several EU states as well as the US and the UN, issued a statement calling for the immediate release of Sudanese officials who were unlawfully detained.

“The actions of the security forces deeply jeopardize Sudan’s hard-won political, economic and legal gains made over the past two years and put Sudan’s security, stability and reintegration into the international community at risk,” read the statement issued by the alliance formed after Bashir’s ouster in 2019.

The statement urged the country's armed forces to restore all transitional arrangements that were based on military-civilian partnership.

On Wednesday, the African Union announced its decision to suspend Sudan from the bloc’s activities until the restoration of the country’s civilian-led transitional government, while the Word Bank froze aid and the United States paused $700m in emergency assistance.

Several Western embassies in Khartoum also said they will keep recognizing the deposed prime minister and his cabinet as “the constitutional leaders of the transitional government” of Sudan. — Agencies

October 28, 2021
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