Egypt wrapped up a two-day summit with Sudan’s main protest leaders on Tuesday, its foreign ministry said, days before they are due to sign an agreement paving the way for civilian rule in the country.
The “important meeting” brought together the Alliance for Freedom and Change, Sudan’s umbrella protest movement and the driving force behind the protests since December, and the opposition groups of the Sudan Revolutionary Front.
Its objective was “achieving peace” as the long-awaited deal is inked, the ministry said in a short statement on the discussions.
The constitutional declaration scheduled to be formally signed on August 17 outlines the formation of a transitional civilian government and a parliament to govern for a three-year transition period. The agreement stipulates the formation of a joint civilian-military ruling body.
The results of the Cairo discussions will be presented before the leaders of the powerful alliance in Khartoum, the statement added.
Representatives from both sides initial agreement paving way for a transitional government.
4 Aug 2019
Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders have signed a constitutional declaration that paves the way for a transition to civilian rule, a hard-fought agreement that came after a long period of negotiations following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in the wake of mass protests.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and Ahmed Rabie, a protest leader, signed the declaration on Sunday at a ceremony in the capital, Khartoum, that was attended by African Union and Ethiopian mediators.
The document builds on a power-sharing deal agreed to last month and provides for a joint civilian-military ruling body to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for a period of a little more than three years until elections can be held.
The signing was met by a wave of applause in the Khartoum hall as representatives from both sides shook hands.
A formal signing in front of foreign dignitaries is due to take place on August 17 in Khartoum. The following day, the generals and protest leaders are expected to announce the composition of the new transitional civilian-majority ruling council.
A new prime minister, appointed by the main opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), is expected to be named on August 20, The prime minister will be tasked to form the government in consultation with the FFC. However, the defence and the interior ministers will be appointed by the military council.
The cabinet, which will be named on August 28, and the ruling council will meet together on September 1, sources told Reuters news agency, ahead of the appointment of a legislative assembly in three months.
The deal on a constitutional declaration is the fruit of difficult negotiations between the leaders of mass protests which erupted last December against al-Bashir’s three-decade rule and the generals who eventually overthrew him in April.
The talks had been repeatedly interrupted by deadly violence in Khartoum and other cities against demonstrators who have kept up rallies to press for civilian rule.
Speaking from Doha, Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow said the agreement “means Sudan has embarked on the road to that much-desired democracy that people have been protesting for months, and also it is momentous for the African Union which has mediated between the parties in Sudan.
“This is a new thing that’s coming in the continent – a hybrid transitional authority that has both military officials and civilians working together during a period of transition – so there are bound to teething problems, but then again many people in Sudan are still hopeful that they have come this far.”
In late May, the TMC shut down Al Jazeera’s Khartoum bureau and banned its journalists from reporting from the country.
Long-awaited document paves the way for civilian rule after Omar al-Bashir’s removal in the face of mass protests. 5 August, 2019
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, chanting revolutionary songs and waving national flags after the country’s military rulers and opposition coalition signed a hard-won constitutional declaration.
The document, initialled on Sunday, paves the way for a transition to civilian rule following the toppling of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April.
It sets the shape of an interim government that will govern Sudan for a transitional period of three years until elections are held.
Envoys from the African Union and Ethiopia brokered the talks that resulted in the constitutional declaration. Negotiations between the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition stalled repeatedly amid deadly violence against protesters who kept up demonstrations demanding civilian rule.
A formal signing of the document will take place in front of foreign dignitaries on August 17.
The following day, the generals and protest leaders are expected to announce the composition of the sovereign council which will replace the TMC.
The transitional period will last for 36 months from the day of the signing of the constitutional declaration.
There will be a sovereign council, which will oversee the creation of a council of ministers and a legislative council.
The sovereign council will be an 11-member governing body, which will rule the country for just over three years. The body will be composed of five military personnel chosen by the TMC and five civilians selected by the FFC. The 11th member will be a civilian chosen by consensus between the two parties.
The sovereign council will be headed by a military general during the first 21 months, followed by a civilian for the remaining 18 months.
The FFC will appoint the prime minister.
The prime minister will name a cabinet of 20 ministers from a list of nominees presented by the FFC, excluding the interior and defence ministers. The latter pair will be appointed by the military members on the sovereign council.
Legal action cannot be taken against members of the three councils without permission from the legislative council. The decision to lift immunity would require the approval of a majority of legislators.
The legislative council will be independent. Its members cannot exceed 300 people, and at least 40 percent of the seats will be reserved for women.
The FFC will appoint 67 percent of the legislative council’s members, while other political groups that are not associated with al-Bashir will select the rest.
Sudan’s armed forces and its paramilitary Rapid Support Forces will be led by the commander of the armed forces, who is also the head of the sovereign council.
The council of ministers may ask the sovereign council to announce a state of national emergency if the unity and safety of the country are at risk. Such a request must be presented to the legislative council within 15 days, and will become invalid if the assembly fails to approve it.
New policies will be developed over the next six months in consultation with armed groups in various regions of the country to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace.
The constitutional declaration also contains a chapter on rights and freedoms for Sudanese citizens. It says:
Everyone is equal before the law.
No one shall be arbitrarily arrested unless for reasons stipulated by law.
No one shall be subject to torture, humiliation, or ill-treatment.
The state will protect the social, civil, political, cultural, and economic rights of women, which shall be equal to those of men.
Everyone has the right to a fair trial; the accused is innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the law.
Every citizen has the right to express themselves freely without limitations, and has the right to receive or publish information and access the media in accordance with the law.
Every citizen has the right to access the internet in accordance with the law.
Everyone has the right to peaceful assembly and the right to create and/or join political parties, NGOs, syndicates, and professional unions
31 July, 2019.Ruling military council orders nationwide schools closure after schoolchildren die in Monday protest
Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council has ordered all schools in the country shut for an indefinite period after security forces killed four students in El-Obeid city on Monday as they were protesting over the rising costs of living.
Following their funerals, similar protests broke out across Sudan, calling for justice for the repeated attacks on demonstrators.
This complicates the political process, now in a deadlock after the ruling military government agreed on an initial deal, yet to be fleshed out, with the opposition bloc.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reports from Addis Ababa in neighbouring Ethiopia.
Hope and Resurrection Secondary School in South Sudan’s Western Lakes State reopened on 8 July, almost two months after the killing of two of the school’s teachers.
On May 26, two Ugandan teachers of the secondary school were shot and killed by gunmen in Atiaba area.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Friday, the school administrator, Deborah Awut Mayom said the closure of the secondary school followed the May 26 incident in which the two teachers were killed.
“We were supposed to reopen the school on May 27, 2019 and before reopening is when the teachers were killed. We sent other teachers back home for one month,” Awut said.
She added, “So on July 8, 2019, the Uganda teachers who had been sent home to mourn reported back to Hope and Resurrection secondary school and the school reopened on July 10, 2018”.
Awut further said a few issues arose between the school and host community, but were resolved before the school officially reopened. “All of us have a mission to run the school,” she stressed.
Awut urged authorities to apprehend those who killed the two teachers. “We heard that the state government has arrested relatives of the suspects who killed the two Ugandan teachers, but no real suspect has been apprehended. This is a shame on the government,” she said.
According to Awut, a suspect arrested by authorities in connection with the incident escaped leaving behind his AK-47 rifle.
The school has nine Ugandan teachers and five from South Sudan.
Army ruler says killing of five schoolchildren ‘regrettable and unacceptable’ as protest leaders cancel planned talks.
military ruler has condemned the killing of five schoolchildren at a rally as protest leaders called off planned talks with the generals and thousands of students took to the streets to denounce the latest bout of violence.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling military council, told reporters on Tuesday the killings in the North Kordofan city of El-Obeid was “unacceptable”.
“What happened in El-Obeid is a regrettable and upsetting matter and the killing of peaceful citizens is unacceptable and rejected and a crime that requires immediate and deterrent accountability,” he was quoted as saying by the official SUNA news agency.
Protesters accuse the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF) headed by al-Burhan’s deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, of shooting dead the five teenagers at Monday’s rally against shortages of bread and fuel.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF in a statement on Tuesday called on Sudanese authorities “to investigate and hold all perpetrators of violence against children accountable”.
“No child should be buried in their school uniform,” the agency said, adding the students killed were between 15 and 17 years old.
The killings came ahead of planned talks between the ruling Transitional Military Council and protest leaders on the remaining aspects of installing civilian rule following the toppling of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.
The two sides signed a power-sharing agreement on July 17, and were to sit down on Tuesday to discuss the powers of the joint civilian-military ruling council and immunity for generals over previous deadly violence against protesters.
But negotiators for the Forces of Freedom and Change, the umbrella group that represents protest and opposition groups, told AFP news agency that Tuesday’s talks would not take place because they were visiting El-Obeid.
“There will be no negotiation today with the Transitional Military Council as our negotiating team is still in El-Obeid and will return only tonight,” said Satea al-Haj.
Meanwhile, thousands of students – heeding a call for nationwide protests against the El-Obeid “massacre” by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) – rallied in Khartoum and other cities to condemn the violence against their fellow students.
The SPA, which spearheaded the protests against al-Bashir, also called on all schools in North Kordofan state to suspend classes.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Addis Ababa in neighbouring Ethiopia, said there was a lot of anger and condemnation on the streets of the capital, Khartoum, because of the renewed violence in El-Obeid.
“But [the protesters] are also condemning the silence of the opposition coalition Forces of Freedom and Change… The protesters are saying these talks have not wielded any results and they’ve been going on for three months.
“People are saying at the moment negotiations are not the way and that what the opposition should focus on is demanding justice and accountability.”
Earlier on Tuesday, a prominent protest leader called for the talks to be suspended.
“We cannot sit at the negotiating table with those allowing the killing of revolutionaries,” Siddig Youssef said in a statement.
Doctors linked to the protest movement say more than 250 people have been killed in protest-related violence since December, when demonstrations first erupted against al-Bashir. More than 100 were killed during and after an RSF raid on a sit-in outside the military headquarters on June 3, they said.
But a joint investigation by prosecutors and the ruling military council concluded just 17 people were killed on June 3, with a total of 87 deaths between that day and June 10.
Protest leaders rejected the findings, saying the inquiry exonerated the military council and gave a far lower death toll than their own.
The investigation “was commissioned by the military council … [but] the military council itself is accused in this case”, SPA said.
Death toll given by senior investigator appointed by public prosecutor is higher than previous official figures.
27 July, 2019
An investigation has found “rogue” military personnel were responsible for killing dozens of Sudanese protesters in the worst violence since the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir.
The violent break-up of a protest site by security forces in Khartoum last month left 87 people dead and 168 wounded, a higher death toll than previous official estimates, a chief investigator said.
Fath al-Rahman Saeed, the head of the investigative committee appointed by the public prosecutor, said on Saturday some members of the security forces opened fire at protesters demanding the military cede power.
He told a news conference three officers violated orders by moving forces into the sit-in area outside the Defence Ministry, a focal point for protests that led to al-Bashir’s removal on April 11.
An order was also issued to whip demonstrators, he added.
The committee found members of the joint force tasked with clearing the Columbia area “exceeded their duties and entered the sit-in square … and fired heavily and randomly”, leading to the killing and wounding of dozens.
The health ministry previously put the death toll at 61, while opposition medics said 127 people were killed and 400 wounded in the dispersal.
“Some outlaws exploited this gathering and formed another gathering in what is known as the Columbia area, where negative and illegal practices took place,” Saeed said.
“It became a security threat, forcing the authorities to make necessary arrangements to clear the area.”
Crimes against humanity
Ismail al-Taj, an opposition representative, told a news conference the investigative committee “was formed not establish the truth, but to conceal the truth” and he questioned the new death toll.
“Reality says that there are closer to 130 martyrs,” AL-Taj said, adding the committee relied on health ministry records, which he said were inaccurate.
The opposition coalition Forces of Freedom and Change is currently negotiating with the ruling military council to finalise an agreement for a three-year transition to elections.
Saeed gave the ranks and initials of officers he said had been charged with crimes against humanity, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment under military law. He did not give their full names.
A brigadier general, referred to only as AAM, mobilised a riot force of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces on the orders of two senior officers but not members of Sudan’s top leadership, and told them to whip protesters, Saeed said.
The committee had not uncovered any incidents of rape, although the US-based Physicians for Human Rights cited local medics as saying women had their clothes torn off and were raped, he said.
Sudan’s military council, which took power after former military officer-turned-President al-Bashir was deposed, has previously denied any rape took place.
Published: 12:25 BST, 29 July 2019 | Updated: 12:25 BST, 29 July 2019
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met in Cairo Monday, the powerful Sudanese military General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, whose forces have been accused of carrying out a brutal crackdown on protesters.
In his first official visit to the Egyptian capital, the deputy chief of Sudan’s military council widely known as Hemeti, “presented the latest developments on the current situation in Sudan”, the Egyptian presidency said.
Sisi, the former general turned president, reiterated Egypt’s “strategic support” in maintaining “the stability and security” of its neighbour Sudan, the presidency added.
Cairo has been a steadfast ally of Khartoum’s military leaders after long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled on April 11 after months of protests.
Hemeti, commander of the Rapid Support Forces – the feared paramilitary group accused of war crimes in Darfur under Bashir – has also shored up support from Gulf allies, meeting with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in May.
Triggered in December with the tripling of the price of bread, the protests in Sudan quickly transformed into a challenge to the Bashir regime, in power for 30 years.
Demonstrations continued after his ouster to demand civilian rule.
On June 3, at least 127 protesters were killed and scores wounded in a raid on a sit-in at the epicentre of the demonstrations, according to doctors linked to the protest movement.
A joint probe by prosecutors and Sudan’s ruling military council showed that security forces, including an RSF general, took part in the raid on the protest camp — despite having no orders from their superiors to do so.
Hemeti has consistently denied that his men were involved in the crackdown, which triggered international outrage.
The general’s meeting with Sisi comes a day after Sudanese police fired tear gas at scores of protesters demanding an independent probe into the June raid.
On July 17, Sudanese protesters and ruling generals signed a power-sharing deal that aims to form a joint civilian-military ruling body which in turn would install civilian rule.
Talks are to resume Tuesday to iron out remaining issues between the two sides.
Published: 12:15 BST, 29 July 2019 | Updated: 12:15 BST, 29 July 2019
Five protesters including four students were shot dead and several wounded at a rally in a town in central Sudan on Monday, a doctors committee linked to the protest movement said.
“Five martyrs succumbed to direct wounds from sniper bullets during a peaceful rally in Al-Obeid,” the committee said in a statement.
The reason for the rally was not immediately clear but it came as protest leaders and the ruling generals prepare to resume talks in Khartoum on Tuesday.
The two sides are to meet to resolve remaining issues concerning the transfer of power from the ruling military council to a new civilian administration.
The generals and protest leaders agreed on July 17 to form a new joint civilian-military governing body that would install an overall civilian rule in the country.
That is the main demand of a nationwide protest movement that led to the April ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and has since demanded that the military council which took his place cede power to civilians.