Turmoil in Sudan Following Coup
In October of this year, there was a military coup in the country of Sudan. The coup brought tension and discord to the already destabilized nation.
The Road to the Coup
In order to better understand how this coup happened, we must first know a brief overview history of the country.
Up until late 1955 when they declared independence, Sudan was under the joint control of the UK and Egypt. The country went almost immediately into civil war, with the predominantly Christian South attempting to sucede from the Islamic North. The South would go on to gain its independence in 2011, and this kind of instability has become a common theme in the nation’s troubled history.
Sudan has a long history of coups. In total, there have been sixteen coup attempts (with varying degrees of success) since the founding of the country. Two, previous, successful coups we will need to know about are the two most recent from 1989 and 2019
The 1989 military coup put a man by the name of Al-Bashir in power. During his reign, Al-Bashir was indicted for several crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide against the Darfuri people in the western part of the country. Even with this, Al-Bashir held power in Sudan until 2019.
In 2019, after months of protest, another military coup ousted Al-Bashir. The new military junta in power was an organization called the Transitional Military Council (TMC). This organization has also been responsible for many of its own atrocities, many of which were, once again, targeting the Darfuri people. In response, a pro-democracy group known as the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) led a three-day general strike.
The FFC and TMC agreed on a constitution that creates a council that would function as the head of state. This council, the Sovereignty Council, was made up of civilians and military officials. The council’s chairman was supposed to be a military official for the first twenty-one months. By mid-November of this year, the military was supposed to cede some additional powers to the civilian government. In the end, the military took a very different approach than what was intended.
Leading up to when the TMC was expected to make its cessions, the Deputy Leader of the TMC accused the civilian government of being the ones hungry for power and made a call for action. Four days later, on October 21st, protests around the country called for the dissolution of the civilian government. The military obliged and arrested the civilian government’s leaders.
In response, supporters of the FFC took to the streets. The FFC certainly had its fair share of problems regarding inflation, debt, infighting, and other issues, but many still saw it as a better alternative to military rule. Because of this, larger counter-protests took place. In the end, these protests were not able to stop the military from dissolving the civilian government.
To fight back against the protestors, the military used tear gas, shut down the internet, took control of media stations that could broadcast information, and closed major routes into the country. This move has caused shortages of important supplies. The military has fought back against the protests using force as well. Several people have died as a result, but due to the sudden lack of telecommunications in parts of the country, accurate statistics are hard to come by. In the end, a Sudanese court ruled against the internet blockade.
The international community was quick to condemn the coup and make calls for dialogue between the groups. Russia blamed “outside powers” for the transitional government’s failure, and the African Union has indefinitely suspended the nation’s membership. The US has also stopped providing funds to the nation. It is unknown what the UN will, or, to be frank, can do about the situation.
This was the fourth coup in Africa this year alone. Events like this have led to many people being rightfully concerned with the stability of the region and continent as a whole. Sudan is especially concerning, as it is a bridge between Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa. The TMC has promised that they would only hold power until the 2023 elections but people are unsure as to whether or not the new leadership will follow through on that promise. Historically, Sudan has been an unstable nation with constant warring and ethnic tensions. This aggressive change in regime and the backlash against it is certainly not going to do any favors for the nation and the Horn of Africa as a whole. Being the fourth coup this year could mean that, for whatever reason, a worrying trend in the area is emerging, the effects of which could affect the world as a whole. Only time will tell what will happen.
M.G.Maurice, Head of Layout & Co-Editor in Chief