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Sudan coup: Burhan announces creation of new government

Military leader announces a new transitional council to replace the transitional council he overthrew
Sudanese security forces keep watch during protests against a military coup overthrowing the transition to civilian rule on October 25 2021 in the capital's twin city of Omdurman (AFP)

Sudan's military coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Thursday announced the creation of a transitional government to replace the previous transitional government, whose civilian leaders he otherthrew on 25 October.

State television reported that Burhan has named a new council to lead the country.

The general, who is the head of the Sudanese Armed Forces and who led the ruling Sovereign Council formed in 2019 after the toppling of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir, will keep his position as head of the council.

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Leader of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, generally referred to as Hemeti, remains his deputy.

The developments come just two days ahead of planned mass protests against the coup.

"The commander-in-chief of the armed forces issued a constitutional decree to form the Transitional Sovereignty Council," Burhan said in a statement. 

The council retains Shamsaldine al-Kabashi, Yasser Atta, and Ibrahim Gaber, all senior military figures. 

Burhan told Sky News Arabia the military had hoped Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok would be "part of this change". Hamdok has been clear that this is not something he would be interested in. 

Among the civilian leaders included on the new council are former parliamentarian Abu al-Qassem Bortoum, a supporter of Sudan's normalisation with Israel. 

Salma Abdelgaber, a Sufi; Youssef Gad Karim from North Kordofan state; Abdelbaqi al-Zubair, representing Khartoum state; and Rajaa Nicola, a Copt, were also named as members. 

Ex-rebel leaders Malik Agar, Alhady Idris and Altaher Hagar, who signed a 2020 peace deal with the government, also secured seats. 

One member from east Sudan has yet to be named pending consultations, according to state television.

Negotiations rejected

On Wednesday, Sudan's main civilian political coalition rejected any negotiation with the military, holding to its position at its first press conference since the coup.

A statement read at the press conference attributed to spokesman Alwathiq Elbereir said the Forces of Freedom and Change, which had signed a 2019 power-sharing agreement with the military following the ousting of Bashir, rejected the coup and had not met with the military.

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The coalition said it supported Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is under house arrest, but had not met with him, and joined him in demanding a return to pre-coup conditions.

"We did not break the partnership... and we must return to the constitutional document," said another FFC spokesman, adding that the coup happened after civilians brought certain contentious issues to the table.

"The coup does not represent the military institution," the spokesman added, saying the coalition would not accept the return of Burhan in the head of state position he held before the coup.

Several civilian politicians and officials were arrested following the coup, and Elbereir said they were facing pressures that were endangering their lives.

Burhan has said he is committed to the democratic transition and elections in July 2023.