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Sudan’s transitional government facing its ‘worst crisis,’ PM says

Abdalla Hamdok warns of an ‘inability to reach a consensus on a national project among the revolutionary and change forces’

Members of the Beja ethnic group of eastern Sudan gather around burning tires as they demonstrate outside the Osman Digna port in Sudan's northeastern Red Sea coastal city of Suakin on October 9, 2021 (ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)
Members of the Beja ethnic group of eastern Sudan gather around burning tires as they demonstrate outside the Osman Digna port in Sudan's northeastern Red Sea coastal city of Suakin on October 9, 2021 (ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

Sudan’s premier warned Friday that his country was facing the “worst crisis” of its transition to civilian rule following the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir more than two years ago.

The remarks by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok came as Sudan reels from deep divisions among the civilian and military political factions that have been leading its transition under an August 2019 power-sharing deal.

Splits in recent months have particularly marred the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), an umbrella civilian alliance that spearheaded protests that led to Bashir’s ouster in April that year.

“The essence of this crisis… is the inability to reach a consensus on a national project among the revolutionary and change forces,” Hamdok said in a televised speech.

“This is due to the deep splits among civilians and among the military, as well as between the civilians and the military.”

Hamdok described it as “the worst and most dangerous crisis” the country has faced during its transition.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok at a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, August 21, 2019. (AP Photo, File)

A splinter faction of the FFC has recently formed its own alliance away from the main civilian bloc.

The opposing civilian factions have called for rival protests in the coming days.

Fractures have also reportedly deepened between civilians and the military, especially following a thwarted coup attempt on September 21 that the government blamed on military officers and civilians linked to Bashir’s regime.

Several civilian politicians have since suggested the military was responsible, but Hamdok dismissed those claims, saying the military “does not bear the burden” of the coup attempt.

This picture taken on October 9, 2021 shows an elevated view of the southern port of Port Sudan along the Red Sea in the country’s northeast (ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

Sudan has also been grappling with shortages of basic commodities after anti-government protesters blocked a key Red Sea port.

Hamdok vowed to address that crisis in the country’s east, which he blamed on “decades of neglect and marginalization.”

Israel and Sudan agreed to work towards normalizing ties last October as part of the Abraham Accords. But unlike other Arab states that forged open diplomatic relations with Israel last year — the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bahrain — little public process has been made in the normalization process with Sudan since the dramatic announcement.

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