Sudan’s coup leader vows to name new prime minister in a week

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the new prime minister will form a cabinet to share Sudan’s leadership with the armed forces.

The Sudanese general who took power in a coup this week said the army he leads will appoint a “technocratic” prime minister to rule alongside him in a few days.

In an interview with the Russian state news agency Sputnik published on Friday, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the new prime minister will form a cabinet that will share the country’s leadership with the armed forces.

“We have a patriotic duty to lead the people and help them through the transition period until the elections are held,” al-Burhan said in the interview.

He said that as long as the expected protests are peaceful, “the security forces will not intervene.”

On Monday, al-Burhan dissolved the transitional government and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, many government officials and political leaders in a coup condemned by the United States and the West. The army allowed Hamdok to return home under surveillance the next day after international pressure.

The generals have not yet drawn up a list of candidates for the post of prime minister, al-Burhan said. The decision to appoint such a prime minister follows previous calls by generals for a “nonpartisan technocratic” cabinet.

The military takeover came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of Sudan’s transition to democracy.

The coup has derailed a transition aimed at bringing Sudan to democracy, with elections in 2023, after the ruler Omar al-Bashir was ousted two years ago.

Al-Burhan has said he dissolved the government to avoid a civil war after civilian politicians stoked hostility towards the armed forces. He says he is still committed to a democratic transition, including elections for 2023, but favors a government that would exclude partisan politicians.

The military takeover comes just weeks before al-Burhan had to hand over the leadership of the Sovereign Council, the top decision-maker in Sudan, to a civilian, in a step that would reduce military control over the country. .

Call for protests

The coup has sparked a storm of street protests demanding the restoration of a civilian government. At least nine people have been shot dead by security forces, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) and activists.

At least 170 other people were injured, according to the United Nations.

Pro-democracy activist groups have called for marches of “millions of people” on Saturday to stop the coup.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the Sudanese army to “show restraint” and refrain from actions that would cost more lives.

Anti-coup protesters block roads and burn tires in Khartoum, Sudan [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]

The United States has also demanded that Sudan’s armed forces refrain from violence against the mass protests planned on Saturday, saying it would be a key test of intent after the civilian government was overthrown.

A senior US State Department official called Saturday a “real test” and said Washington was “really concerned” about the response to the demonstrations called to oppose the removal of the military from the transitional government led by civilians.

“The Sudanese people are preparing to take to the streets tomorrow in protest of the military overthrow and we call on the security forces to refrain from all violence against protesters and to fully respect the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully,” said the official to the press. on condition of anonymity.

“I think this will be a real indication of what the military’s intentions are and what, unfortunately, the casualty count might be,” he said.

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