Sudan’s Burhan names post-coup transitional council without main bloc demanding civilian rule

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Sudan's de facto ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Thursday named a new transitional council after last month's military coup, excluding representatives of the main bloc demanding a transfer to civilian rule.

Burhan on October 25 dissolved the government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, detained the civilian leadership, and declared a nationwide state of emergency, sparking a wave of international condemnation.

His latest announcement comes just two days ahead of planned mass protests against the coup.

In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the latest developments were "very concerning."

"We want to see a return to the transition as quickly as possible," he told reporters.

"We want to see the release of the prime minister as well as all other politicians and leaders that have been detained."

At a closed-door Security Council meeting, UN special envoy Volker Perthes warned that "the window now is closing for dialogue and for a peaceful resolution", according to Britain's ambassador Barbara Woodward.

Sudan's information ministry, which has remained loyal to the deposed government, quoted ousted minister Hamza Baloul as saying the council's formation was "an extension of the coup measures".

Under the decree, Burhan, who chaired Sudan's ruling council formed in August 2019 following president Omar al-Bashir's ouster, keeps the post.

Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, leader of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, remains his deputy in the 14-member council.

The mixed military-civilian body also retains Shamsaldine al-Kabashi, Yasser al-Atta, and Ibrahim Gaber, all senior army figures.

But the civilian representatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change, the umbrella alliance which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests, were dropped from the council.

Among the civilian members is former parliamentarian Abou al-Qassem Bortoum, a businessman supporter of Sudan's normalisation with Israel.

Salma Abdelgaber from Al-Gazira state in central Sudan, Youssef Gad Karim from North Kordofan state, Abdelbaqi al-Zubair representing Khartoum state and Rajaa Nicola, a Copt, are also on the list.

Ex-rebel leaders Malik Agar, Alhady Idris and Altaher Hagar, who signed a 2020 peace deal with the government, also kept their seats.

One member from east Sudan has yet to be named pending consultations, according to state television.

International pressure

Last month's military takeover sparked nationwide anti-coup protests which were met by a bloody crackdown that left at least 14 people killed, according to medics.

Scores of pro-democracy activists have since been arrested as Sudan has largely remained under a rigorous internet outage.

On Thursday, the telecommunication authority said the internet cut was ordered to "safeguard national security" and would to remain in force until further notice.

A court ruling had ordered an end to the outage.

On Thursday, security forces arrested activist Mohamed Nagi al-Assam, according to an independent medics union.

Assam was a leading activist during the 2019 protests which led to Bashir's ouster.

The military power grab has triggered international condemnation, punitive aid cuts and demands for a swift return to civilian rule.

Burhan insists it was "not a coup" but a move to "rectify the course of the transition".

Sudan's army has said that the formation of a new civilian government is "imminent".

On Tuesday, Burhan met with diplomats from the US, UK and Norway who called for Hamdok's "restoration" to office and the release of all detainees.

"We discussed our strong desire to see Sudan's democratic transition put back on track. We warned against unilateral action," the diplomatic troika said.

Hamdok was briefly detained immediately after the coup but later placed under effective house arrest.

Last week, the military released four civilian members of the ex-government but key officials are still detained.

On Thursday, several EU ambassadors called for "a return to constitutional order".


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