Sudanese authorities have freed several of the country’s civilian leaders, a former captive said on Monday, days after the military agreed to reinstate the prime minister and release the detainees under a deal denounced by many.
Last month’s coup drew international condemnation and punitive action, with the United States calling for more progress on Monday before resuming millions of dollars in suspended aid.
“I was released late last night,” following an agreement to cancel the military takeover, Sudanese Congress Party leader Omar al-Degeir, who told Agence France-Presse, told AFP. was among the civilians arrested when the army seized power on 25 October (AFP).
“I have been in solitary confinement and completely cut off from the world for that entire period.”
The Congress Party, however, criticized Sunday’s deal, saying it “explicitly legitimized the continuation of the coup regime.”
Other civilian politicians were also released, including Sadiq al-Mahdi of the Umma Party, Sudan’s largest political group.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s adviser Yasir Arman, a leading figure in Sudan’s main civilian bloc, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), was among those released, according to al-Degeir.
But other civilian figures and key ministers deposed in the coup have yet to be released.
On Monday, 12 of the 17 FFC members of Hamdok’s sacked government, including Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi, announced their resignation, refusing to collaborate with the coup leaders.
“We are not questioning his integrity as a patriot or as a leader … but what happened yesterday was a setback, a setback in confidence,” al-Mahdi told the US think tank Atlantic Council. , after Hamdok met his cabinet.
Al-Burhan promises “free elections”
General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan last month declared a state of emergency and toppled the Hamdok government, which upended a two-year transition to civilian rule.
The move sparked international condemnation and punitive measures, and sparked mass protests in the streets and clashes with security forces.
At least 41 people have been killed, the most recent being a teenager shot dead by security forces on Sunday, pro-democracy doctors said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Sudanese leaders that Sunday’s deal to roll back the military takeover was just a first step, the State Department said.
“This is the first step. It is not the last step,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.
He said Washington, which suspended $ 700 in aid to Sudan, wanted to see more progress towards democracy in the African country.
Hamdok, who had effectively been under house arrest for a month, emerged to sign the 14-point deal with al-Burhan under which the prime minister was reinstated and political detainees released.
However, analysts warn that the move only “whitewashes” the coup, as it is not yet clear how much power Hamdok’s team will give.
The cabinet will remain under the oversight of a ruling council headed by the military.
Thousands of protesters at multiple rallies on Sunday rejected the deal, shouting “No to military power” and demanding that the armed forces completely withdraw from government.
While Hamdok had previously been hailed as the only “legitimate” leader of Sudan, protesters tore up posters of the prime minister and called him a “traitor” to the 2019 revolt that toppled autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir .
The Sudanese Professionals Association, a coordinating group of unions that was also instrumental in the downfall of Al-Bashir, called the deal “political suicide” for Hamdok.
The deal has been well received by the United Nations and the African Union, as well as the so-called Troika of Britain, Norway and the United States.
He was also praised by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have close ties with the Sudanese military.
Burhan on Monday renewed his pledge to lead Sudan to “free and fair elections” on July 23.
The deal gives hope that the country will be able to return to its tenuous transition process since Bashir’s ouster after months of mass street protests.
But analysts expressed skepticism, pointing out that the general had satisfied the international community while consolidating its control over the transition process.