By Paul Ndiho

Sudanese military leader General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan says the army is stepping back from political talks, paving the way for political and revolutionary groups to form a transitional government. 

Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan has announced that the army will make way for a civilian government and would “not participate” in national talks facilitated by the United Nations and regional blocs. 

Al-Burhan says the decision was taken “to make room for political and revolutionary forces and other national factions” to form a civilian government.  The move comes months after the October coup ousted civilians from a transitional administration. 

“First, the non-participation of the military institution in the current negotiations, which are facilitated by the tripartite mechanism, makes room for political and revolutionary forces and other national factions to form a civilian government of independent national competencies.” 

Widespread international condemnation and aid cuts followed the overthrow, the latest in the impoverished northeastern African country. 

Burhan’s televised announcement surprised anti-coup demonstrators, hundreds of whom were on the fifth day of sit-in protests after last Thursday’s violence.

“Second, after the formation of the executive government, the Sovereignty Council will be dissolved, and a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces and Rapid Support will be formed to assume the supreme command of the regular forces and be responsible for security and defense tasks.” 

Pro-democracy medics say nine demonstrators lost their lives, bringing to 114 the number killed in the crackdown against anti-coup protesters since October.  And the U. N’s human rights commissioner says some 335 have been arrested. 

In the weeks following the coup, the military and civilian leaders promised to hold general elections in July 2023.  Sudan’s leading civilian players had boycotted the talks with military leaders launched under international auspices last month to restore the transition. The United Nations, the African Union, and the regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development facilitated the dialogue. 

Burhan did not clarify the scope of the military’s role in politics, but he says it will be committed to implementing the outcomes of the talks, which the U.N. and the African Union support. 

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