Sudan‘s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, the central figure in the political transition process, announced late last night Sunday that he was stepping down, six weeks after returning to office, unable to break the political deadlock and end the bloodshed following the military coup two months ago in the North African state.
“I have decided to announce my resignation, to make way for others,” Mr Hamdock, a former UN economist, said during a televised address, as mass mobilisations against his theoretical civilian-military transitional government have been going on for weeks, met with bloody repression.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, a constituent organisation of the movement against the military junta, said earlier yesterday that two more people were killed by security forces during an operation to disperse a crowd demonstrating in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital Khartoum.
With the new deaths, the number of civilians who have lost their lives since the coup in Sudan has reached at least 57.
The Sudanese army seized power in a coup on 25 October. Faced with escalating international and domestic pressure, the junta then decided to reinstate the ousted Prime Minister Hamdok on 21 November. But his return did not end the unrest.
By virtue of the agreement between Mr Hamdok and the coup leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the Prime Minister formed a government with civilian members. But General al-Burhan remained its co-chairman.
The council leading the political transition process includes several military officials accused of gross human rights violations and corruption.
Mr Hamdock‘s return did not stop the mass mobilisations against military interference in political affairs.
Sudan‘s resigned prime minister faced accusations of “treason” from much of the protest movement. In his speech yesterday, he warned that the very “survival” of the country is “threatened“.
It is not yet clear who will replace him. It seems that the generals are now back at the helm of the country alone.
Many demonstrators yesterday chanted slogans such as “soldiers in the barracks” and “power to the people“. In the background, young men on motorcycles accompanied the crowd. They play the role of paramedics in every mobilisation, since the security forces prohibit ambulances from picking up the injured.
The protesters called for 2022 to be a “year of continued resistance” and demanded justice for the dozens of people killed after the coup, as well as for the more than 250 civilians killed during the 2019 “revolution“, when the country was rid of Omar El Bashir, who ruled with an iron fist for some thirty years.
An adviser to General Burhan on Friday described the mass mobilisations as a “waste of energy and time“, predicting that they would not bring “any political solution“.
In addition to the dozens of deaths and the disruption of telephone services and internet access, the security forces in December allegedly used a new tool of repression: rape. Sexual abuse of at least 13 female protesters was reported, according to the UN.
Every day and in every neighbourhood, the resistance committees, small groups that organise the mobilisations, announce new arrests and new disappearances.
The Europeans express indignation, as do US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the United Nations. The international community calls for a resumption of dialogue before considering resuming international aid to Sudan, one of the poorest in the world. The offer of aid was suspended when the October coup took place.
On Saturday, Mr. Blinken warned that Washington would take action against “all those who seek to prevent the Sudanese from continuing their path to political and democratic government. “