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Timeline: Sudan’s political situation since al-Bashir’s removal

After weeks of tensions between military and civilian figures, who have shared power in Sudan since the overthrow of its longtime leader Omar al-Bashir two years ago, armed forces detained the prime minister before the military leader dissolved the ruling council and declared a state of emergency.

Civilian members of the ruling council and government ministers were also detained along with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, with a statement from the information ministry saying the PM refused to support the “coup”.

Internet, mobile phone networks and parts of the landline network have been disrupted since the early hours of Monday morning.

The Sudanese government had previously said it was the target of a coup attempt on September 21.

Since then, the political situation in Sudan has worsened. Here is a recap of events in Sudan since anti-government protests broke out:

Sudanese protesters march in 60th Street in the capital, Khartoum, to denounce overnight detentions by the army of members of Sudan’s government, on October 25, 2021 [AFP]

December 2018: Mass protests

Widespread protests against poverty, corruption and unemployment erupt in the northeast region of Atbara. Within days, these protests had spread to the capital, Khartoum, and demands soon shift to calls for al-Bashir to step down.

Security forces respond with a fierce crackdown that kills dozens.

April 2019: Al-Bashir overthrown

On April 11, 2019, Sudan’s military removed al-Bashir from power, suspended the country’s constitution and closed its borders and airspace. A three-month state of emergency is also imposed.

Al-Bashir, who was in power for nearly 30 years, is replaced by a transitional military government, but thousands of protesters camp in front of the army headquarters, demanding civilian rule.

Talks between the generals and protest leaders break down.

June 2019: Bloody crackdown

Armed men move in on the protest camp on June 3 and dozens are killed in a days-long bloody crackdown.

A feared paramilitary group, that sprang from the notorious militia known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which is accused of war crimes in the 2003 Darfur conflict, is blamed for the violence but rejects allegations it was involved.

August 2019: Power sharing

After the African Union intervenes, civilian and military factions agree to share power in a three-year transition with elections scheduled for 2023. A council of ministers is also formed under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

On August 17, a “constitutional declaration” is signed and a sovereign council comprised of leading military and civilian figures is formed three days later.

December 2019: Al-Bashir convicted 

On December 14, al-Bashir is convicted of corruption and sentenced to two years in a correctional centre.

The toppled leader has long been wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the 2003 Darfur conflict in which 300,000 people were killed.

A Khartoum prosecutor rejects extradition as not “necessary”.

March-June 2020: Unrest spreads

Hamdok survives an assassination attempt on March 9.

In April, inflation skyrockets to 99 percent and higher, with food prices soaring after borders are closed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

On June 30, street demonstrations reiterate demands for justice for people killed under al-Bashir and during the protests of recent years.

July 2020: Al-Bashir tried for coup

Al-Bashir goes on trial in Khartoum on July 21 over the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

The government announces it will devalue the currency in a bid to curb black market activity as it struggles with an “economic emergency”.

October 2020: Peace deal      

In October, Sudan signs a landmark peace deal with an alliance of rebel groups.

Two key groups refuse to sign and tribes in Sudan’s east also oppose the accord, saying it overlooks them.

Sudan also agrees to normalise ties with Israel in what is seen as a quid pro quo for the United States to remove the country from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list in December.

February 2021: Fragile government

Sudan announces a new cabinet that includes seven ministers from former rebel groups.

Later, Hamdok warns of fractures within the civilian alliance that spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests.

September-October 2021: Military ‘coup’      

Protests in eastern Sudan block trade through the key hub of Port Sudan from September into October.

Khartoum announces on September 21 that it has thwarted a coup attempt by civilian and military plotters linked to al-Bashir’s overthrown government.

Protesters take to the streets in Khartoum from October 16 to demand a military government, ostensibly at the behest of a splinter faction of the main civilian protest bloc.

In response, tens of thousands demonstrate on October 21 in support of the country’s transition to a civilian-led democracy.

On Monday, the information ministry says armed forces detain civilian members of the ruling council, ministers in the government, as well as Hamdok after he refused to support the “coup”.

 




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