2019–2020 Sudanese protests

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2019–2020 Sudanese protests
Part of Sudanese Revolution
Revolutionary atbara people.jpg
People from Atbara on 6 November 2019
Date12 September 2019 (2019-09-12)present
Caused by
Methodsstreet protests
  • 2 October 2019 – Abdelrahman Hassan released in Cairo[11]
  • 10 October 2019 – Nemat Abdullah Khair becomes Chief Justice, el-Hibir Attorney-General[12]
  • 20 October 2019 – Nabil Adib to head Khartoum massacre investigation[8]

The 2019–2020 Sudanese protests consisted of street protests in Sudan starting from mid-September 2019 during the 2019 Sudanese transition to democracy, on issues that included the nomination of a new Chief Justice of Sudan and Attorney-General,[6] killings of civilians by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF),[1][2] the toxic effects of cyanide and mercury from gold mining in Northern state and South Kordofan,[3] protests against a state governor in el-Gadarif and against show trials of Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) coordinators,[5] and for officials of the previous government to be dismissed in Red Sea, White Nile,[5] and South Darfur.[7] These protests followed the sustained street protests and civil disobedience of the Sudanese Revolution and the early September 2019 transfer of executive power to the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and his cabinet of ministers.[13] Hamdok described the 39-month transitional period as being defined by the aims of the revolution.[13]

Background[edit source | edit]

Eight months of street protests and sustained civil disobedience in Sudan, starting on 19 December 2018, led to a Political Agreement and Draft Constitutional Declaration[14][15] defining a 39-month political transition period that started in September 2019, formally transferring executive power to the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and his cabinet of ministers.[13][16] Gilbert Achcar described the transition period as the fourth phase of the revolution.[16]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

September 2019[edit source | edit]

On 12 September two thousand protestors in Khartoum and other cities[17][6] and on 19 September twenty thousand protestors in Khartoum, Wad Madani and Port Sudan[18] called for Abdelgadir Mohamed Ahmed to be appointed as Chief Justice and Mohamed el-Hafiz as Attorney-General, for the Khartoum massacre investigation commission to be created, and for the senior members of the previous government to be either tried in Sudanese courts on extradited to the International Criminal Court investigation in Darfur.[18]

Displaced people held mass protests in Mershing in South Darfur on 15–16 September 2019[1] and in Nyala on 17 September[2] after armed men wearing Rapid Support Forces (RSF) uniforms shot dead University of Zalingei student Munir Hamid as well as Adam Mohamed, Hashim Karameldin and Radwan Abdelrahman.[1] The protestors considered the transitional government to be responsible for the deaths and called for "the militias" to be disarmed.[2]

On 17 September, residents of Simit and other villages in Northern state protested against the construction of a new mine by Hamid Mining Company on the grounds of the risks of pollution from mercury and cyanide used during the extraction procedures.[3] On the same day, people from South Kordofan protested in Khartoum to call for mining to be suspended, as ordered by the governor of South Kordofan but disobeyed by some mining companies. The protestors showed photographs of victims of the cyanide used in the mining process and called for local companies including El Sunut, al-Junaid (also Juneid), Abarsi and international mining companies to stop mining.[3]

On 18 and 19 September, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the Sudanese resistance committees, government employees and other el-Gadarif residents organised protests in el-Gadarif calling for the removal of the state governor on the grounds of government-controlled radio and television not reporting on activities of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and the situation of people affected by flooding, and against the governor's "anti-revolutionary position".[5] On the same two days, the SPA protested in front of courts in Geneina against the trials of eight SPA coordinators, which they considered to be show trials punishing the SPA members for having organised protests and a strike.[5]

Teachers and other public servants in Red Sea protested on 18 September calling for senior officials associated with the previous government to be dismissed.[5]

Engineers and other workers of the White Nile Sugar Workers Union in White Nile protested on 17 September calling for officials of the previous government to be dismissed. Employers of the protestors dismissed three of the engineers and started investigations into others, which the protestors' committee, the Temporal Committee for the Restoration of the White Nile Sugar Workers Union, considered to be retaliation for having participated in the protest.[5]

On 22 September, Sudanese police used tear gas against students protesting in Nyala in South Darfur against bread shortages and transport failures and calling for the state governor to be dismissed. The FFC condemned the "use of tear gas and live bullets against peaceful protestors", called for civilian governors to be appointed, and called for an immediate investigation into the actions of the police.[7]

On 26 September, two thousand people[9] protested in support of Waleed Abdelrahman Hassan (or Walid, Abdulrahman),[9][10] a Sudanese student arrested in Cairo for alleged participation in the 21 September street protests in Egypt. The solidarity protest took place in Khartoum in front of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Egyptian Embassy. The SPA called for Abdelrahman Hassan to be able to contact his family, choose a lawyer and not be tortured or coerced.[10] Abdelrahman Hassan's friends and relatives stated that an apparent confession by him broadcast by MBC Masr on 26 September, in which he stated support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, was a forced confession, given Abdelrahman Hassan's long-term opposition to Islamists in Sudan under the Omar al-Bashir government, for which he was arrested in 2013 and 2018, and during the Sudanese Revolution.[9] Abdelrahman Hassan's friend Mohammed Saleh described the idea of Hassan supporting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as "unbelievable".[9] The SPA stated that the video broadcast was "shameful" and that, "We stress here that the era when Sudanese citizens were humiliated inside or outside their country has gone and will never return."[9] Abedelrahman Hassan was freed on 2 October.[11]

October 2019[edit source | edit]

On 13 October protestors in el-Hilaliya in Gezira started a sit-in calling for the administrative head of el-Hilaliya to be dismissed, for the security committee to be dissolved, and for improvements to be made in education, health care, electricity and the environment. The administrative head was dismissed on 19 October. The week-long sit-in continued on 20 October, with protestors considering a shift of the protest to the state capital Wad Madani if their demands were not met.[19]

On 18 October, further protests against the use of cyanide and other toxic molecules in gold mining took place in Talodi. The protestors called for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to stop guarding the mining plants, for the Amir of Talodi to be dismissed, and for improved Talodi Hospital services. The RSF beat protest supporter Hussein Noureljalil in the head with their rifle butts. Regular army forces rescued Noureljalil and took him to Talodi Hospital.[4]

On 21 October 20 thousand people protested in Freedom Square in Khartoum and in other towns in Sudan calling for the National Congress Party (NCP), which dominated politics during the al-Bashir government, to be dissolved, and for its senior members to be tried in court. There were no reports of casualties. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok gave a speech marking the 55th anniversary of the 1964 uprising, in which he said "the revolution needs greater efforts to be completed and achieve its goals", after firing several top bureaucrats associated with al-Bashir's government the previous week.[20][8]

The 21 October protestors also called for the investigation into the 3 June Khartoum massacre to be carried out transparently and into all suspects, including members of the civilian–military Sovereignty Council who were formerly members of the Transitional Military Council.[8]

November 2019[edit source | edit]

On 11 November, Suakin residents blocked the main road linking Port Sudan to Tokar in protest against a week of electricity shtudowns.[21] On the same day in Abu Naama in Sennar, protestors burnt the offices, fuel depots, tractors and factories of the Kanaf Abu Naama project in protest against carcinogens. Security services detained two residents.[22]

Students at Nyala University protested in front of local administrative offices on 11 November in protest against the lack of public transport, and called for university staff vehicles to be used to help transport students.[23] On the same day in Abu Ushar in Gezira, protestors burnt tyres and blocked a major highway in protest against the lack of flour and the deterioration of other services.[23] Also on 11 November, Jaafar Mohamedein of the Kanabi Congress, representing Kanabi, seasonal workers originally from Darfur and other western parts of Sudan recruited and settled in Gezira, protested about racism by government and the local population at a meeting in Khartoum on 11 November with Mohamed Mahala, representing Sovereignty Council member Mohammed al-Ta'ishi, and Sudan Liberation Movement/Army-Minni Minnawi members. Mohamedein called for the rights of the Kanabi to participate in the political process and for the creation of a Sovereignty Council commission to defend Kanabi rights.[24]

December 2019[edit source | edit]

On 11 December, people in Tawila in North Darfur protested against armed attacks by camel and cattle herders against farmers and people living in camps for those displaced by the War in Darfur.[25] On 13 December 200 people protested in West Darfur against corruption, called for the state governor to be dismissed, and against the lack of bread and fuel.[26]

On 17 December, students at the University of Ed Daein in East Darfur protested against the drowning of a student in a ground water tank, accusing the Student Support and Welfare Fund of the al-Bashir epoch of negligence.[27] Farmers in North Darfur blocked roads in protest against the theft and destruction of the crops by "outlaws".[28]

January 2020[edit source | edit]

Two thousand women demonstrated in Khartoum on 2 January 2020. They marched to prime minister Hamdok's office and submitted a petition signed by 46 citizens' groups and 13 political parties called for Sudan to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The women complained that a list of nominees for state governors is a men-only list and called for laws against female genital mutilation and child marriage.[29]

On 15 January, ex-security agents from Sudan's former intelligence service, National Intelligence and Security Service, mutinied, engaging in a violent conflict with forces from their former employer, renamed the General Intelligence Service, in Khartoum.[30] According to Al Jazeera, the conflict resulted in the death of 2 soldiers, leaving 4 wounded.[31] Sovereignty Council member Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo attributed responsibility to former intelligence chief general Salah Gosh. Gosh was alleged to have escaped to Egypt after Bashir's government was overthrown by Sudan's regular armed forces. Egyptian authorities did not confirm Gosh's location.[32][33]

On 27 January, Ethiopian refugees rallied in front of the UN Refugee Agency buildings in Khartoum, complaining that they have their rights as refugees were not recognised, preventing them for either acquiring a nationality by naturalisation or byresettlement.[34]

On 28 January, twenty Sudanese protested in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Khartoum, calling for the return of relatives deployed against their wills to Libya and Yemen as mercenaries in the Second Libyan Civil War and the Yemeni Civil War. According to the demonstrators, their relatives had been deceived by an Emirati company, Black Shield, which had led them to believe that they were to be employed as security guards in the UAE.[35] The families of the victims also protested outside the Emirati embassy in Khartoum on the same day.[36]

About 50 young men returned to Libya the same day, following the protests outside the UAE embassy.[37]

On 31 January, a day after the Sudanese Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi announced a plan to gradually cut fuel subsidies over 18 months, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) called for a "million man march" in Khartoum, which they described as an "expression of national unity" in protest against government policies.[38]

February 2020[edit source | edit]

Several Sudanese demonstrated outside the government headquarters in Khartoum on 4 February in protest against the 3 February secret meeting between the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel stated that Sudan and Israel had agreed at the meeting to normalise relations.[39][40] The two-hour meeting was held in Entebbe, Uganda.[41] The Sudanese government claimed that it had not been notified of the plan to hold the meeting.[42] Politician and religious figure Abdullahi Yousif claimed that Burhan did not have permission to meet with the Israeli prime minister without authorisation from other government members, and described the meeting as a betrayal for Allah.[43] High-ranking military officers met at army headquarters in Khartoum and expressed support for the Burhan–Netanyahu meeting.[44] Al-Burhan stated that his meeting with Netanyahu had been intended to "protect national security". The Sovereignty Council stated that the Sudanese position in relation to Palestine and in support of the rights of Palestinians had not changed. Al-Burhan also stated that relations between Sudan and Israel remained "the responsibility of the designated institutions, in accordance with the Constitutional Document".[citation needed]

On 12 February, Human Rights Watch stated that former President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir is set to finally answer for his crimes in Darfur, as the Sudanese leaders plan on collaborating with the International Criminal Court. However, the backing of Sudan's military in the handing over of the former president to the ICC, lies with great uncertainty.[45][46] The decision was reached, when rebel groups and the transitional authorities of Sudan held peace talks in the capital of South Sudan in Juba on Tuesday, according to Al Jazeera.[47] The BBC added that three more people are expected to be handed over to the ICC alongside Omar al-Bashir. Also, a senior official of the Sudanese government disclosed that they are figuring out a way that al-Bashir and the three others can be presented to the ICC without being extradited to the Hague.[48][49]

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), called for a protest against the government on 20 February, following the dismissal of officers who actively aided the revolution that led to the removal of Omar al-Bashir last year in April.[50] As the protesters gathered in hundreds to demand for the reinstatement of officers and soldiers who were dismissed last week, security forces fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.[51] At least 17 people were reported to have been injured in the crackdown, according to Reuters.[52] All the victims who were wounded have been urged by the Sudanese Doctors Central Committee to visit the Federal Hospital in order to receive appropriate treatment.[53]

However, in Abu Jubeiha in South Kordofan, hundreds of protesters rallied through the streets on 24 February, to protest against the state government's decision to permit the resumption of mining activities by two companies in the town which has left the area highly polluted.[54] The European Union on 29 February, pledged its support for the transitional government of Sudan with €100 million, considering the deteriorating economic situation of the country. The EU representative also added that they are completely willing and ready to ensure smooth political transition in Sudan, with every means they have available.[55][56] Joseph Borrell Fontells, the EU representative, is also expected to visit North Darfur after his two-day visit in Khartoum, according to Darfur24.[57]

March 2020[edit source | edit]

On 1 March, over 100 diplomats including ambassadors and administrators, linked with the former leader of Sudan Omar Al Bashir, were sacked by the Empowerment Removal Committee of Sudan. The deputy head of the committee disclosed that 109 ambassadors, diplomats and administrators were sacked from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, alongside those who were hired via political and social support. It was also reported that last month, assets of the former ruling party were confiscated by the committee, according to Reuters. The committee was created in November last year in accordance with a law, purposely for taking apart the government established by Al Bashir.[58][59][60]

On 5 March, the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) organisation, disclosed the results of an investigation into the use of violence by armed security forces against pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum sit-in June 2019, which showed that up to 240 people were killed and more than a hundred others wounded.[61] According to the rights group, the report was founded based on statements of several eyewitnesses, interviews with health practitioners, as well thousands of online video footage and pictures of the attacks.[62] However, doctors associated with the protest movement claimed that at least 128 people were killed, while the authorities argued that the number was 87 and also falsified the allegations that they had given the go-ahead for the deadly 3 June attack.[63] The PHR in the report, further accused the security forces of Sudan for carrying out excessive use of force against pro-democracy protesters. They have also urged member states of the UN to ensure that the perpetrators have been held accountable for their injustice.[64][65]

On 9 March, an investigation by Amnesty International, based on fresh evidence, exposed the involvement of all branches of Sudan's security forces in the violence carried out against protesters in 2018 and 2019, which showed how protesters were killed.[66] The group has called on the authorities in Sudan to bring all those responsible for the death of protesters to justice through a just trial, that does not result in punishment by death.[67]

June 2020[edit source | edit]

On 3 June, several Sudanese protesters gathered in the streets of Khartoum, to seek out justice for the dozens of protesters that were killed in the 3 June 2019 crackdown.[68] The protesters held up signs, images of members of the Rapid Support forces that they held responsible for the killings and burnt tires as they rallied through the streets. They also shut down roads in the capital Khartoum, as protests reportedly took place in other towns and cities across the country as well.[69] However, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, while marking the anniversary of the horrific event in a televised statement, assured the Sudanese that the perpetrators of the crackdown will be brought to justice.[70]

On 9 June, The bank account of former leader Omar al-Bashir was seized, a Sudanese anti-corruption committee disclosed on Tuesday. In addition, five foreign exchange bureaus which were used to facilitate his administration were also closed. According to the committee, monthly transactions of millions of U.S. dollars were believed to have been carried out through the bank account which was confiscated. The amount received through Omar's personal bank account monthly had reached $20 million, Dabanga TV added.[71][72]

On 10 June, hundreds of Sudanese protested in Khartoum, against the formation of a United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), which was created to assist the political transition in the country.[73] Several protesters waved the Sudanese flag, including banners indicating their objection to the foreign domination of Sudan, Anadolu Agency reported. In an attempt to break up the crowd which gathered near the army headquarters, security forces reportedly fired tear gas at the protesters.[74][75]

On 29 June, protesters in Nierteti in Central Darfur took to the streets in thousands, calling on security forces to put a stop to the deadly attacks carried out by gunmen on a daily basis in the area. The protesters further demanded increased protection, punishment to the gunmen responsible for the attacks, as well as ensuring they have laid down arms.[76][77] A day before the sit-in started, unknown gunmen reportedly killed a woman and a soldier of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) near a camp in Nierteti.[78]

On 30 June, thousands of Sudanese protesters gathered in the streets of Khartoum, Omdurman, as well as Khartoum North, calling for rapid reform and larger civilian leadership in the country. Several demonstrators expressed their backing of Abdalla Hamdok's cause, while urging his government to ensure their demands have been met. During the massive peaceful rally, one person was reportedly killed, with many others wounded. The reported casualty was believed to have died as a result of a bullet to the chest, with 44 others also wounded by either bullets or tear gas, the Sudan Doctors Central Committee disclosed. Similar protests were also held in eastern Sudan's Kassala, and across the country, with some protesters shutting down roads, burning tires and chanting slogans of the anti-Bashir movement.[79][80][81]

July 2020[edit source | edit]

On 3 July, protesters in Nertiti in Central Darfur returned to the sit-in outside a government office for the fourth consecutive day, threatening to continue with the demonstrations until their calls were answered, according to the Urdu Point.[82] Following the protests, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok stated on Friday, that a delegation would be sent by the government to the area, in order to meet their demands. According to Dabanga, the protesters had already rejected a delegation from the security committee of Central Darfur, who visited the state capital Zalingei on Thursday. The protesters believe that filing several complaints regarding the insecurity in the area, the state officials haven't put in enough efforts to bring an end to the attacks.[83][84]

On 5 July, the transition government of Sudan disclosed that the Chief of Police, as well as his deputy were dismissed, as the Sudanese protesters continue to demand for justice against officials associated with the former government of Omar al-Bashir, according to Reuters. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok stated on his Twitter account that Ezz Eldin Sheikh Ali had replaced the director-general of the Sudan’s Police Force, Adel Mohamed Bashaer. The Sudanese parliament however, did not provide any reason that led to the dismissal of the top officials. According to Reuters, both police officials who were dismissed are accused by several pro-democracy groups and protesters of having ties with the government of ousted ruler President Omar al-Bashir.[85][86][87]

On 13 July, during a peaceful protest in the Fataborno village of Sudan’s Northern Darfur where several people gathered to demand for better security in the area, armed men reportedly opened fire at them killing at least 10 people and 17 others injured, according to VOA News.[88] Separately, a police station and cars were said to have been set ablaze by an unknown group of protesters in Kutum town in North Darfur state. On Sunday, demonstrators called for the establishment of a civilian government and improved security, considering that military officers are still occupying the positions of state governor, even though al-Bashir’s administration had already been ousted since April last year.[89] Following the attacks, a state of emergency was declared by the provincial government in the region, adding that more troops would be sent to the affected areas, as well as nearby towns. The United Nations and African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) also stated that it had sent a delegation to Northern Darfur’s Kutum town, amidst the ongoing violence in the area.[90][91]

However, the acting governor of North Darfur, Maj Gen Malik Khojali assured the UNAMID and other humanitarian organisations that peace had been restored in both Kutum and Fata Borno, while urging relief organisations to come to the aid of victims of the violence.[92]

On 17 July, several Sudanese in Khartoum came out to criticise the new government reforms which they considered to be anti-Islamic. Also, protesters in the east and north of Khartoum joined the demonstrations which began after Muslims’ Friday prayers, as they chanted slogans against secularism and the replacement of laws made by God.[93][94] In anticipation of the protests, bridges connecting to Khartoum were shut down by security forces from 6:00 p.m on Thursday, to the end of Friday, according to the Khartoum State’s Security Committee.[citation needed] Some of these reforms included permitting non-Muslims to consume alcohol, as well as decriminalising the conversion from Islam to other religions.[95] Different mosques across Sudan during the Friday prayers, blamed the government for defecting from Islamic laws and encouraged the people to see to the end of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok’s present administration.[96]

On 21 July, Sudan’s former President Omar al-Bashir was taken to a courtroom in the capital Khartoum to face trial for partaking in the 1989 coup that brought him into power. Despite being already sentenced on the charges of corruption, there’s a possibility that al-Bashir might be given the death penalty, if convicted for the 1989 coup, the BBC added. Al-Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the allegations of crimes against humanity, genocide and other war crimes in Darfur.[97][98][99] Prior to statements/evidence being presented, the court decided to adjourn the trial to 11 August, in order to resume in a much larger court which would accommodate more lawyers and family relatives of the defendants.[100]

On 26 July, UN officials disclosed that a new wave of violence erupted in West Darfur, which led to the death of over 60 people and 60 others injured, the Jakarta Post reported.[101] On Saturday afternoon, about 500 gunmen were said to have attacked Masteri Town, north of Beida, in Darfur, setting houses and part of the local market on fire, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the UN revealed in a statement.[102] In light of the attack, about 500 locals were said to have organised a protest calling for increased security, refusing to bury the dead until immediate actions are taken by the authorities.[103] Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok assured the delegation of women he met with from the region Sunday, that security forces would be dispatched in order to ensure that the citizens are protected, as well as the agricultural season. He added that a joint security force comprising both the army and police would be deployed in the five states of the Darfur region for increased protection.[104][105]

August 2020[edit source | edit]

On 17 August, as the civilian-military power-sharing deal marked one year, several Sudanese protesters took to the streets in Khartoum to demand faster reforms, including the election of a legislative body. Near the Council of Ministers, several protesters were sighted waving the Sudanese flags and chanting for quicker reforms.[106][107] Some protesters, including security forces were said to have been injured when security forces used tear gas in order to break up the gathering of thousands of protesters marking the anniversary.[citation needed] Demonstrators in Omdurman and many other cities were also said to have joined the protests, with the majority of the protesters gathering outside the cabinet headquarters in the capital Khartoum.[108]

Since Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Sudan in 2005, Mike Pompeo has now become the first US secretary of state to visit Sudan on Tuesday, 25 August.[109] During Pompeo’s visit, he met with the Sudanese Sovereign Council Chair General Abdel Fattah el-Burhan in Khartoum, and also planned to meet with the Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok.[110] The US State department revealed that the meeting aims to address US backing of the transitional government in Sudan, as well as strengthen relations between Sudan and Israel.[111] However, the Sudanese PM has told Pompeo that he is not yet authorised to normalise ties with Israel, pending the establishment of interim bodies which would deliberate on the issue.[111]

On 28 August, protests reportedly broke out in eastern Sudan’s Kassala town, where demonstrators urged Sudan’s leader to remove the governor of Kassala state Saleh Ammar, maintaining that he is incompetent to occupy the position.[citation needed] The protests later turned violent when supporters of Governor Saleh were accused of shooting protesters which resulted in the death of four people and six others wounded, according to VOA News.[112] Several people were said to have stormed the Kassala Grand Market with knives and sticks, setting many shops ablaze.[113] Following the clashes, the Sudanese government has declared a state of emergency in Kassala and sent security reinforcements to avoid further spread of the crisis.[114]

On 31 August, the Sudanese government signed a groundbreaking peace deal with Sudan’s five top rebel groups. The deal was signed in the capital of South Sudan, Juba, in an attempt to resolve the long-standing conflict that has ravaged the country. It also aims to address important issues regarding land ownership, security, power sharing, as well as allowing the insurgents to join the army.[71][115][116] Despite the union of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, including the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) have signed the peace deal, two other groups have reportedly abstained from participating in the peace process.[117]

October 2020[edit source | edit]

On 3 October, the transitional government of Sudan sealed a peace deal with many rebel groups in an attempt to resolve conflicts that have destabilized the country for years.[118] The deal was signed during a ceremony in South Sudan’s capital Juba, between the Sudanese government, Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), and a coalition of rebel groups. According to France 24, two other powerful rebel groups refused to participate in signing the peace deal. The two rebel groups included those fighting in Darfur and in the southern part of the country.[119][120][121]

The Sudanese President Abdel Fatah al-Burhan, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, South Sudan Vice President Dr Riek Machar, including dignitaries from Somalia, Uganda, Chad, among others, were all able to attend the event in Juba. The dignitaries were said to have added their names to the agreement, including the African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN).[122][123] In addition to the three main groups that signed a preliminary deal in August, Abdelaziz al-Hilu's powerful rebel group, Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, also assented to engaging in peace talks presented by South Sudan last month.[124]

On 4 October, protesters responded to the recent signing of a peace deal between the Sudanese government and rebel groups which took place on Saturday, by closing the Southern Port of Sudan. The road linking the eastern city and the capital was shut down by the protesters, including Port Sudan’s container terminal. The protests were said to have been largely conducted by the members of the Port Sudan Workers Union, as they criticized the failure of the deal to cater for the demands of eastern Sudanese appropriately.[125][126][127] Aboud el-Sherbiny, head of the Port Sudan Workers Union disclosed that workers in both the southern port and Suakin port had embarked on a strike, following the peace deal.[128] The workers are calling for the termination of the peace deal, as well as the eastern track, El-Sherbiny added.[129] They have also vowed to continue the protests, unless the Sudanese government attends to their demands.[130]

Salva Kiir, President of South Sudan has called on the international community to provide assistance, in order to ensure successful implementation of the peace deal, according to Al-Awsat.[131]

On 13 October, the governor of Kassala state, Saleh Ammar was reportedly sacked by Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok over inter-tribal conflict and last week’s blockade of Port Sudan’s container terminal in eastern Sudan.[132] Ammar’s dismissal came three months after his appointment, which was immediately followed by deadly protests that led to the death of at least five with several others injured. The governor subsequently accused supporters of former leader al-Bashir of being responsible for the protests, although he couldn’t provide proof to back his claim, Associated Press added.[133][134] After his appointment in July, Ammar had to stay in Khartoum, due to being prohibited by demonstrators from entering Kassala, who rejected his appointment on the basis of tribe.[135]

Later in the evening, in response to the dismissal of the Kassala state governor, demonstrators were said to have shut down roads and burnt tires in Kassala town, according to Dabanga Sudan.[136] No injuries were reported during the protests, according to Arab News. A new appointment to replace the provincial governor has not been made yet by the Sudanese Prime Minister.[137][138]

On 15 October, the heavy protests which erupted, following the government’s decision to fire Kassala’s civilian governor Saleh Ammar, claimed the lives of 8 people, the Sudanese government revealed. Several others were said to have been wounded during the clashes between the protesters and security forces.[139][140] All those who were killed and wounded are believed to be protesters, who were assaulted with swords and knives, a doctors' committee maintained.[141] Sudan's information minister and spokesman, Faisal Mohamed Saleh, stated that a three-day state of emergency was declared in Kassala state by the central government amidst the violent protests.[142]

On 21 October, due to the deteriorating economic condition in Sudan, protesters returned to the streets of the capital Khartoum, including its twin city, Omdurman.[143] Major roads and bridges linking to the military headquarters and presidential palace in the capital were all shut down by the Sudanese security forces, in preparation of the protests.[144] It was reported that in an attempt to disperse the protesters, security forces fired tear gas at them.[145] The Sudan Doctors’ Committee revealed that in the capital, at least one protester was killed, with several others injured, according to ABC News.[146]

On 23 October, a deal was reached regarding the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel, US President, Donald Trump announced. The deal which also removes Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, is said to only go through if approved by Sudan’s legislative council, which is not yet set up at the moment, according senior officials in the capital Khartoum.[147][148]

Following the announcement of the deal by both countries, several Sudanese protesters took to the streets of Khartoum on Friday, denouncing the deal, Al Jazeera added.[149] Major political parties in Sudan, have also criticized the deal between the two countries, and promised to hinder it.[150]

November 2020[edit source | edit]

On 23 November, the formation of a transitional government in Sudan was delayed to the end of year 2020, the Forces of Freedom and Change Alliance (FFC) announced.[151]

On 26 November, the last democratically elected Sudanese PM Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was ousted by former ruler Omar al-Bashir, passed away as a result of coronavirus infection. Al-Mahdi’s family revealed that he died after three weeks of receiving treatment in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates.[152][153] Following his death, three days of mourning was declared by the present Abdalla Hamdok’s administration. Flags across Sudan were flown at half-mast, the VOA News added.[154][155]

December 2020[edit source | edit]

On 14 December, the US embassy in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, revealed that Sudan had been officially removed from its list as a state sponsor of terrorism.[156] US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, described the removal as an essential advancement in terms of enhancing cooperation between the US and Sudan’s transitional government.[157] Sudan on the other hand, has also expressed its gratitude for the removal, as Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok added that it would make a positive impact on Sudan entirely.[158] Spokesman of Turkey’s foreign ministry Hami Aksoy in a statement, also praised the decision, maintaining that Turkey had long awaited for this moment.[158]

On 19 December, thousands of Sudanese protesters took to the streets to mark the two year anniversary of the protest movement which resulted in the overthrow of former ruler Omar al-Bashir.[159] The major demand of the protesters was that the transitional government must bring about faster reforms, as they want to see a rapid change in the current economic situation in the country. Some protesters on the other hand, demanded for the dissolution of the entire ruling coalition, including the sovereign council and the cabinet.[160][161] In anticipation of the protests, major roads and streets linking to the government and military headquarters were all shut down by the Sudanese security forces, according to the Washington Post.[162]

Despite thousands of protesters marching in the capital Khartoum, reports have shown that protests also took place in Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman, and across other cities in Sudan as well.[163] Protesters who marched towards the presidential palace demanding for a sit-in until a parliament is formed, were said to have been met with security forces who fired tear gas and sound grenades at the large crowd.[164] No immediate casualties have been reported yet so far, the ABC News added.[165]

On 21 December, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed that the Sudanese security forces killed seven protesters, while leaving at least 25 other people wounded during unrest in Eastern Sudan’s Kassala on October 15, 2020. A 16-year-old boy was said to have been one of the people killed during the protests in which the security forces used live rounds to break up the gathering of protesters, Dabanga added.[166][167] The HRW has called on the transitional government of Sudan to make sure that those behind the atrocities are brought to justice . They also blamed the police and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) for firing at demonstrators, as most of the victims died from bullet wounds.[168][169]

On 26 December, tribal clashes erupted in South Darfur’s Gireida, between the Masalit farmers and Fallata herders which left at least 15 people dead and dozens wounded. [170] In West Darfur’s El Geneina however, a student was reportedly shot dead. [171] Following the heavy clashes, a large number of military forces were deployed to the region to seize weapons and capture those responsible for the violence, the governor of South Darfur state, Musa Mahdi announced. [172]

On 29 December, dozens of Sudanese protesters took to the streets of Omdurman to demonstrate against the killing of a pro-democracy activist, Bahaa Eddine Nouri.[173] Reports have shown that Bahaa was grabbed earlier on December 16, from a cafe in Khartoum by unidentified men, in a vehicle which had no license plates, the Washington Post revealed. Subsequently, his body was discovered days later at a hospital morgue in Omdurman, which led to the massive protests.[174][175] According to medical reports given to Sudan’s attorney general, the victim was tortured to death in a paramilitary facility which is run by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).[176]

However, the head of the RSF’s intelligence unit, including other officers who were part of Nouri’s torture and capture, have either been apprehended or suspended, while an inquiry is being made into his death, according to the RSF spokesman, Brig. Gen. Gamal Goma.[177] The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), in response to the killing of Bahaa Eddine Nouri, has urged for renewed protests, provided the Sudanese government and the RSF are unable to take measures within a period of 15 days. [178]

On 31 December, the UNAMID ended its peacekeeping mission in Darfur after 13 years. The Sudanese government is now liable for the security of citizens in the area, the mission added. [179][180] However, after UNAMID’s departure, the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), which is a UN political mission, is expected to be put in place in order to assist the Sudanese government in terms of disbursing aid and strengthening peace as well. [181] Also, the withdrawal of the peacekeepers which commences in January, will be concluded within a period of six months, according to the U.N. [182]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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  175. "Sudan protests activist's torture and killing".
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  180. "Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan's Darfur Ends".
  181. "UN, African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur ends".
  182. "Peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur ends mandate after 13 years".

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