Sudan. According to
CountryAAH, Sudan underwent a political earthquake in 2019.
Popular protests against increased prices of bread and fuel
that shook the country at the end of 2018 continued unabated
at the beginning of the year. The security forces failed to
quell the protests and were accused of being overwhelmed
when, among other things, hospitals were attacked. At the
end of January, human rights groups stated that at least 40
people had been killed, while 2,000 were arrested. President
Omar al-Bashir announced a state of emergency on February
22, dissolved the government and replaced provincial
governors with army commanders. He resigned on 28 February
as leader of the National Congress Party (NCP). Despite the
demonstration ban, the protests continued with demands that
al-Bashir resign. A large sitting strike outside the Army
headquarters was held in early April.
On April 11, the army announced that al-Bashir, who had
led the country since he took power in 1989, was deposed. A
military council would rule for two years until elections
are held. al-Bashir, 75, was arrested. On the following day,
Defense Minister Awad Ibn Ouf resigned. The leader of the
junta was General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
At a April house search at al-Bashir, cash worth tens of
millions of dollars was seized. He was indicted in June for
corruption and sentenced in December against his refusal to
serve two years in prison at a special facility. Property
and cars were seized. Juntan declined to be extradited to
the International Criminal Court (ICC), which in 2009
indicted him for genocide in Darfur province.
A power-sharing agreement was signed on August 17 and
al-Burhan was sworn in as leader of the governing council to
replace the junta. The Council includes five generals and
six civilians. The parties agreed in July on a three-year
transition period: A general leads for the first 21 months,
after which a civilian leader reigns for 18 months. The
settlement was preceded by continued popular protests and
clear contradictions between the protest movement, the
Alliance for Freedom and Change and the junta. Several
violent clashes occurred. At least 128 people were killed on
June 3 when security forces and militia attacked a protest
camp in the capital. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and
the African Union mediated.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who previously worked for
the UN, heads the transitional government. Asma Mohamed
Abdalla became the country's first female foreign minister.
Hamdok stressed that military spending must be reduced
and that Sudan should be removed from a list of countries
that the United States believes are devoted to
state-sponsored terrorism. This is required for Sudan to be
able to raise international loans, even though Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates provided loans. The economy is
in serious crisis. The International Monetary Fund estimated
that GDP shrank by 2.6% in 2019 while inflation was 50%.
In November, the Governing Council banned al-Bashir's
party NCP and seized its assets. The Council also abolished
a notorious law against "immoral" behavior. It had been used
to punish women for "crimes" such as dressing in pants and
limiting their opportunities to participate in social life.
Women, who formed an important group in the protest
movement, welcomed the decision. The transitional government
and rebel groups in the provinces of Darfur, Blue Nile and
South Kurdufan started peace talks in October in neighboring