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Rebel Split Poses Threat to Sudan’s Democratic Transi...



Rebel Split Poses Threat to Sudan’s Democratic Transition

Sudan is in the middle of a complicated and fragile period in its history. (Photo: EPA-EFE/MARWAN ALI)
By Bloomberg
11 Oct 2021 0

(Bloomberg) -- Sudan’s democratic transition faced a new threat as former rebels split with their one-time civilian allies and called for a new government amid protests in the country’s east.

By Mohammed Alamin and Simon Marks

Word Count: 492
The step from the Sudanese Revolutionary Front and other former rebel groups removes a key pillar of support from embattled civilians in the interim government who are increasingly at odds with the military officials with whom they’re sharing power. The feud risks derailing Sudan’s path to democracy after years of Islamist dictatorship, one of the few political bright spots in a region marred by conflict and autocracy.

“This government has failed to achieve the goals of the revolution,” Al-Toum Hajo, deputy chairman of the SRF, an umbrella organization of insurgent groups that once fought in the country’s south and Darfur region, said Monday.

The rebel leaders that include Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim also called on the government to be dissolved and replaced by “real technocrats” who could lead the country, Hajo said.

Read more: Coup Intrigue Is the Latest Threat to Sudan’s Democratic Dream

Senior members of the civilian component of Sudan’s transitional government forged in the wake of the protests that toppled Sudan’s longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir claimed the breakaway component of the ruling coalition was instigated by the military in an attempt to discredit the government and sow chaos in the country.

“We don’t represent the army, the deep state, the former regime or anyone else, but we are telling the truth that the civilian government has failed,” Hajo said at a press briefing.

Port Blockade

Members of the civilian component also said that an ongoing blockade of Port Sudan by protesters belonging to the Beja tribe in the east of the country was the result of military influence. The Beja tribe, which has sought a greater voice in Sudan’s transitional government, has blocked roads leading to Port Sudan and caused flour shortages that have led to queues outside bakeries in the capital, Khartoum.

Read more: Protests Hit Sudan Red Sea Ports That Are Lifeline for Economy

“The Beja question and the eastern Sudan question is being used to overthrow the civilian state,” Yasser Arman, a political adviser to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, said in an interview in Khartoum. “There is an attempt to obstruct and to put pressure on the government. There is an attempt to force a new direction and to give more power to the military at the expense of the civilians.”

Supplies of fuel and flour in Khartoum may only last another two weeks before running out, Arman said.

The leader of the protest movement in eastern Sudan is Sayed Tirik, a tribal leader of the Beja and former member of Bashir’s National Congress Party.

Senior members of the military have denied any involvement in the protests occurring around Port Sudan, but insist that demonstrators’ complaints about parts of a peace deal the transitional government in Sudan is trying to enact with rebels and opposition movements are legitimate.


(Updates with more context throughout)

–With assistance from Moses Mozart Dzawu.


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