Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Sudanese coup leader says he will appoint a new prime minister within a week

CAIRO (AP) – A Sudanese general who seized power in a coup this week said his military would appoint a technocrat prime minister to rule with them for days.

In an interview with the Russian state news agency Sputnik, published Friday, Abdel-Fattah Burkhan said the new prime minister would form a cabinet that would share the country’s leadership with the military.

“We have a patriotic duty to lead people and help them in the transition period before the elections,” Burkhan said in an interview. He said that as long as the expected protests are peaceful, “the security forces will not intervene.”

Burkhan on Monday dismissed the transitional government and detained Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, many government officials and political leaders in a coup d’état condemned by the United States and the West. The military allowed Hamdok to return home under guard the next day after international pressure.

According to Burkhan, the generals have not yet drawn up a list of candidates for the post of prime minister. The decision to appoint such a prime minister followed earlier calls from generals to create a non-partisan cabinet of technocrats.

The military coup comes after weeks of escalating tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of Sudan’s transition to democracy. It threatened to derail this process, which had progressed in fits and starts after the overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising two years ago.

Burkhan said that the military was forced to take power into their own hands because of the quarrels between political parties, which, he argued, could lead to civil war. However, the coup also took place just weeks before Burkhan would have had to hand over the leadership of the Sovereign Council making the final decisions in Sudan to a civilian, which would have diminished the military’s influence over the country.

The coup sparked a storm of street protests demanding the restoration of a civilian government. According to the Sudanese Committee of Doctors and Activists, at least nine people were killed by shelling by security forces. At least 170 people were injured, according to UN pro-democracy activists, who called for a “millionth” march on Saturday to stop the coup.

“We don’t mind peaceful demonstrations. This is a guaranteed right, ”Burkhan told Sputnik. “As long as the protests are peaceful, the security forces do not intervene.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres called on the Sudanese armed forces to “exercise restraint” and refrain from actions that could claim more lives. Speaking to reporters in Rome on Friday ahead of the G-20 summit, Guterres reiterated his “strong condemnation” of the coup and stressed the need to restore the transition to democratic rule in the East African country.

Earlier this week, Burkhan said he had appointed himself head of the military council that will rule Sudan until elections in July 2023.

Associated Press author Frances D’Emilio of Rome contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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