KHARTOUM – General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the second officer to be sworn in as Sudan’s new military ruler in consecutive days, is a “veteran soldier” largely unknown outside the army.
On Friday, Burhan became chief of a military council that deposed Omar al-Bashir, after the president’s immediate successor General Awad Ibn Ouf stepped down following little more than 24 hours in power.
Protesters, determined to see a civilian government after the end of Bashir’s iron-fisted three decades in power, saw Ibn Ouf as a regime insider and a close aide of the toppled leader.
Ibn Ouf’s exit has catapulted Burhan from the shadows to the de facto head of the country.
“Burhan is a high ranking officer within the armed forces, but basically he’s a veteran soldier,” said an army officer, who did not want to be named.
“He’s never been in the limelight like Ibn Ouf or General Kamal Abdelmarouf,” the officer said, referring to the army’s former chief of staff.
“Burhan doesn’t have any political leanings, he is a professional soldier,” an anonymous officer is quoted as saying.
But as de facto head of the country, he will not be able to escape making difficult political decisions.
Burhan had a stint as Sudan’s defence attache to Beijing.
On Friday, hours before he was named as Sudan’s new military ruler, he was seen talking to protesters who have camped outside the army headquarters since 6 April.