Sudan’s military yesterday reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and promised to release all political detainees after weeks of deadly unrest triggered by a coup, though large crowds took to the streets to reject any deal involving the army.
Under an agreement signed with military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Hamdok, first appointed after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 uprising, will lead a civilian government of technocrats for a transitional period.
The deal faces opposition from pro-democracy groups that have demanded full civilian rule ever since Bashir was ousted and have been angered by the deaths of dozens protesters in the weeks following the October 25 coup.
A hero for the protest movement, Hamdok quickly became the villain for some.
“Hamdok has sold the revolution,” protesters chanted after the deal was announced.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a leading protest group, called it “treacherous”. Tens of thousands of people joined rallies in the capital Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Bahri.
Security forces fired bullets and tear gas to disperse them, witnesses said.
“Hamdok has disappointed us. Our only option is the street,” said Omar Ibrahim, a 26-year-old protester in Khartoum.
The coup triggered mass demonstrations against the military and medics aligned with the protest movement say security forces have killed 40 civilians in increasingly violent crackdowns.
Hamdok said he had agreed to the deal to prevent more casualties. “Sudanese blood is precious, let us stop the bloodshed and direct the youth’s energy into building and development,” he said at a signing ceremony broadcast on state television.
Burhan said the deal would be inclusive. “We do not want to exclude anyone except, as we’ve agreed, the National Congress Party,” he said, referring to Bashir’s former ruling party.
However, the agreement made no mention of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), the civilian coalition that shared power with the military before the coup.
A number of people those present at signing ceremony had political ties to Bashir.
The FFC said it did not recognise any agreement with the armed forces.
“We affirm our clear and previously announced position: no negotiation and no partnership and no legitimacy for the putschists,” the alliance in a statement.
Those who carried out and backed the coup should face justice, it said.
Several of the resistance committees that have been organising protests also put out statements rejecting any deal with the military.
Hamdok was placed under house arrest when the military seized power, derailing a transition towards elections in 2023.
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