As the death toll continues to rise in protests against Sudan’s military rulers, the local currency has plummeted after the Central Bank’s IPO exacerbated the country’s deepening economic and political crisis . At least 84 people have been killed since protests began on October 25, when the army led by General Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan removed Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok from his post. Young protesters blocked roads across the capital and were pelted with tear gas. These brutal tactics are applied to any protesters or innocent bystanders unlucky enough to encounter police on the street.
“The officers fired tear gas inside my mosque, forcing me to break windows to escape,” said young imam Mohammed Yusuf. “They stole cell phones before leaving.”
The unprovoked attack is indicative of the sharp increase in violence by security forces and general unrest in major cities across Sudan. The military takeover in October was dubbed “the Palace Sit-In” and resulted in a unified agreement by former members of the Juba Peace Accord militia, Islamic and Sufi groups and various tribes to seize power from the Communist and Baathist elements of Liberty. and Change Movement.
Resistance committees seen as offshoots of the Communist Party are now part of a group of organizations leading nationwide protests. However, resistance and the level of participation seem to be diminishing as sections of the general public express their frustration. “We cannot support resistance movements or the army,” said a Khartoum resident. “Both groups failed in Sudan.”
International efforts have failed to bring the military and the protest movement led by the Freedom and Change Movement to the negotiating table. The movement lost its moral edge over the army when four members were accused of corruption: Wadi Saleh, Salah Mana, Ehab El Tayeb and Mohammad Al-Faki were part of a task force working to dismantle political and financial networks of former President Omar Al-Bashir. The men are accused of misusing property confiscated from the former ruling party, the National Congress Party. Three of them remain in prison after Al-Burhan refused to allow them to resume their work with the suspended task force.
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Over the past three weeks, Sudanese military leaders General Al-Burhan and his deputy Mohammed Hamdan have made two major trips, to Russia and the United Arab Emirates, in search of economic assistance. After the high-profile meetings, speculation emerged that secret deals might have been struck with the host nations. The most widely circulated rumor surfaced on Monday claiming that Russian mercenary Wagner Group is operating in Sudan. Representatives from the United States, Britain and Norway wrote in an article published in a Sudanese newspaper that the Moscow-linked group “spreads disinformation on social media and engages in illicit activities related to gold mining”. This was quickly denied by Hamdan.
Moreover, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hamdan seemed to indicate that Sudan would support Moscow. “Russia has the right to act in the interests of its citizens and to protect its people under the constitution and the law,” he said.
Sources familiar with Hamdan’s preparation for his visit deny that the meeting with the Russians was a show of geopolitical strength for Moscow. They claimed that the offer of supplying gold was in exchange for supplying wheat to Sudan, 35% of whose imports will be affected by the war between Russia and Ukraine. The meeting included follow-up military assistance and a renewal of Sudan’s willingness to consider Russia as a strategic ally in the region. Hamdan’s offer is a repeat of the suggestion made by Al-Bashir, who in 2018 explained that he had invited Russia to the Red Sea region because he wanted to ward off the threat from the United States. United to invade Sudan. This was after being disappointed by attempts to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Khartoum by Washington.
History may have repeated itself, but the world is different from when Sudan’s communist-Baathist-led government had bad relations with the United Arab Emirates. With the UAE calling for the restoration of a civilian-led transitional government, Abu Dhabi stressed the need to stabilize Sudan as soon as possible. It has emerged that the favored path as far as the Emiratis are concerned is to support the military regime.
READ: UN condemns ‘unacceptable’ use of lethal force against protesters
After Al-Burhan’s meeting with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, the Sudanese Foreign Minister confirmed that “an agreement has been reached between the two governments and the private sector of the two countries to support the Sudanese banks with significant amounts, enabling them to play their role in the development of the Sudanese economy.” However, it was unclear how this financial support would materialize.
With further protests planned and the political issues far from resolved, it appears the military’s immediate priority is to focus on the country’s economic affairs, in an attempt to garner as much genuine support from the Gulf and of Moscow in an effort to revive Sudan’s struggling economy.
The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.