Sudan | Police general killed for fear of further repression

(Khartoum) Sudanese police announced that one of their generals was killed Thursday during new anti-coup protests in Khartoum, raising fears of a new outbreak of violence in the country just days after the launch of a dialogue under the aegis of the United Nations.

On October 25, the head of the transitional authorities, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, led a coup. Since then, the street has not stopped shouting at him.

63 dead among the demonstrators

And the security forces to repress the demonstrators, with 63 already dead in their ranks according to pro-democracy doctors.

On Thursday, for the very first time, the police – who regularly report dozens of wounded in their ranks – announced the death of one of their generals in a parade in Khartoum.

This death could be a game-changer, because on the one hand the demonstrators claim pacifism and on the other, the authorities accuse some of them of seeking confrontation, in a country where millions of weapons are in circulation. .

According to witnesses, the security forces fired tear gas canisters again on Thursday at thousands of anti-coup demonstrators in Khartoum where the crowd chanted: “Burhane, it is the Islamists who brought you there!” “.

Back to the old regime?

Because for the partisans of a civilian power in Sudan – remained under the rule of the military almost continuously since its independence 66 years ago -, the putsch is a means of returning to the old regime of Omar al-Bashir, a dictatorship that is both military and Islamist.

Already, the civilian face of the difficult transition has left the ship: in early January, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok resigned.

And this, while since the coup, the generals have failed to rename a government of civilians as they had promised since October 25.

The street is intractable. She wants nothing less than the departure of General Burhane, as she obtained in 2019 the departure of Bashir.

Between irreconcilable camps, the UN has been trying to bring all Sudanese actors back to the negotiating table for weeks.

On Monday, his envoy to Khartoum, Volker Perthes, officially launched an initiative for which he said he wanted to initially promote individual talks before a second phase of direct or indirect negotiations.

If Mr. Perthes assures that there was “no objection” from the military, the civilians, for their part, have already rejected his idea for many of them.

“No negotiation”

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which played a decisive role in the anti-Bashir protests, “completely rejected” such talks, while the Forces for Freedom and Change (FLC), the main civilian political bloc, demanded guarantees. on the fact that this dialogue does not seek “to legitimize” the new “regime” born of the putsch.

Because for the demonstrators who continue to go out in the streets, the line is clear: “no negotiation”, “no partnership” with the army, they cry out.

General Burhane, he assures to have only proceeded to a “correction of the course of the revolution” and he assures to want to lead Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, towards free elections in 2023.

But its support abroad is increasingly rare and a resumption of international aid suspended with the putsch is not on the agenda for the moment.

In Cairo, a great neighbor and traditional ally of the Sudanese generals who have remained silent so far, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, questioned by the press, seemed to support the UN initiative.

“We can only achieve stability with an agreement between all the forces involved”, he pleaded, “the fact that we do not comment does not mean that we do not support the dialogue” .

Not enough to convince in the streets of Khartoum, obviously. “We don’t want this initiative, that’s all,” insists Awad Saleh, a 62-year-old protester, to AFP.

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