Sudan: army suspends meetings with transitional government

The military arm of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council has suspended all of its scheduled meetings with the civil side, local media reported on Sunday. News has also emerged that security guards have been withdrawn from their ministerial protection role.

The head of the Sovereignty Council is military commander Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. The government is led by Abdullah Hamdok. The council’s avowed mission is to prepare for a general election and hand it over to a civilian authority.

Al-Burhan announced yesterday that he plans to hold the election on time. He vowed not to overthrow the revolution, claiming that what was reported about the army’s alleged intention to carry out a coup was “pure slander”.

Tension has escalated between the military and civilian leaders administering the transitional period in Sudan, after Al-Burhan and his deputy criticised politicians following the army’s announcement that it had thwarted a coup last Tuesday. “We are keen to complete the transition process, leading to democratic transformation and building a state of freedom, peace, and justice,” Al-Burhan told senior army officers. “The rumour of a coup intended by the army is pure slander. It was the army that thwarted the coup attempt.”

READ: Sudan denies reports that military attempted a coup

Earlier on Sunday, Al-Burhan said in a speech in Khartoum, “We are committed to holding the election on time, and the armed forces will not turn against the December revolution.”

Last Tuesday, the Minister of Defence, Yassin Ibrahim, announced that a coup had been thwarted. He said that it was led by Major General Abdul Baqi Al-Hassan Othman Bakrawi, along with 22 other officers of different ranks, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers.

“The armed forces are the guardian of Sudan, its security, and its people, and unless the forces of the revolution unite, we will not go forward with a small group that ruined it,” insisted Al-Burhan. “Unity is the only way to complete the transitional phase in Sudan.”

A member of the civilian component of the Sovereignty Council, Muhammad Al-Faki Suleiman, accused the military last Friday of trying to control the political situation.

Al-Burhan also touched on the unrest in the east of the country during his speech. “The issue of eastern Sudan is political, and has nothing to do with the regime forces,” he insisted.

This was a reference to the closure of all Sudanese ports on the Red Sea for the tenth day in a row by the Supreme Council of Tribal Elders in eastern Sudan. The main road between Khartoum and Port Sudan has also been closed. The Council is protesting against the marginalisation of the eastern regions by the government.

There is also tension on the Sudan-Ethiopia border. Al-Burhan praised the role of the armed forces in confronting the attack on Al-Fashqa by Ethiopian forces, which had to retreat. Addis Ababa accuses the Sudanese army of seizing Ethiopian territory, which Khartoum denies.

READ: Sudanese protesters shut pipeline transporting oil to Khartoum

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