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Sudan pro-civilian rule faction warns of 'creeping coup'

By AFP
Sudan Sudanese rival protesters are split, with some calling for a transition to civilian rule, such as this group on October 21, and others calling for a military takeover.  By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP)
OCT 23, 2021 LISTEN
Sudanese rival protesters are split, with some calling for a transition to civilian rule, such as this group on October 21, and others calling for a military takeover. By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP)

A Sudanese faction calling for a transfer of power to civilian rule warned Saturday of a "creeping coup", during a press conference that an unidentified mob attack sought to prevent.

Sudan has been undergoing a precarious transition marred by political divisions and power struggles since the April 2019 ouster of president Omar al-Bashir.

Since August 2019, the country has been led by civilian-military administration tasked with overseeing the transition to full civilian rule.

The main civilian bloc -- the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) -- which led anti-Bashir protests, has splintered into two opposing factions.

"The crisis at hand is engineered -- and is in the shape of a creeping coup," mainstream FFC leader Yasser Arman, said in a press conference in the capital Khartoum.

"We renew our confidence in the government, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and reforming transitional institutions -- but without dictations or imposition," Arman added.

The press conference at the official SUNA news agency premises was delayed when a crowd of protesters tried to stop it going ahead.

The FFC's mainstream faction backs a transition to civilian rule, but supporters of the breakaway faction have ratcheted up calls for "military rule".

On Thursday, tens of thousands of protesters rallied across Sudan to counter a week-long encampment supporting pro-military rule in central Khartoum.

Critics have charged that the rival sit-in has been orchestrated by senior figures in the security forces, Bashir sympathisers and other "counter-revolutionaries".

Tensions between the two sides have long simmered, but divisions ratcheted up after a failed coup on September 21.

Hamdok has previously described the splits as the "worst and most dangerous crisis" facing the transition.

On Saturday, Hamdok denied rumours he had agreed to a cabinet reshuffle, calling them "not accurate".

The premier also "emphasised that he does not monopolise the right to decide the fate of transitional institutions."

Also on Saturday, US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman met jointly with Hamdok, the chairman of Sudan's ruling body general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

"Feltman emphasised US support for a civilian democratic transition in accordance with the expressed wishes of Sudan's people," the US embassy in Khartoum said.

Feltman also urged them "to recommit to working together" in accordance with 2019 power-sharing deal and a 2020 peace deal with rebel groups which outlined the transition.

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