Military junta sacks six crucial ambassadors
Friday, October 29th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Sudan’s ruling military has sacked six ambassadors and security forces have tightened their crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, even as international pressure against this week’s coup grows.
The decision, announced late on Wednesday on state media, included Sudan’s ambassadors to the United States, the European Union, China, Qatar, France and the head of the country’s mission to the Swiss city of Geneva, apparently over their rejection of the military takeover.
It came as demands are mounting for the army to walk back Monday’s coup that derailed Sudan’s fragile transition towards democracy following the removal of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 in a popular uprising.
Several Western embassies in Khartoum also said they will keep recognising deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his cabinet as “the constitutional leaders of the transitional government” of Sudan.
On Wednesday, the African Union announced its decision to suspend Sudan from the bloc’s activities until the restoration of the country’s civilian-led transitional government, while the United States paused $700m in emergency assistance and the Word Bank froze aid.
The World Bank’s move is a major blow for a country that had just begun re-emerging from three decades of financial isolation.
During al-Bashir’s rule, Sudan had been placed on a US list of state sponsors of terrorism which made it ineligible for much-needed debt relief and funding from global institutions and also limited potential foreign investment.
The country was removed from the list in December 2020, and in June the World Bank said it would commit about $2bn in grants to support the government’s economic efforts over the next year.
Meanwhile, protests denouncing the army’s power grab continued in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere, with many businesses shut in response to calls for strikes as part of a civil disobedience campaign that has also seen demonstrators blocking roads.
In a statement posted on Facebook overnight, ministries and agencies of Sudan’s most populous state, Khartoum, which includes the capital and twin city Omdurman, said they would not step aside or hand over their duties.
They declared a general strike, although they would continue to supply flour, cooking gas, and emergency medical care.
Reports said hundreds of protesters threw rocks at security forces dismantling street barricades in Khartoum’s eastern district of Burri, while in the capital’s north, security personnel fired tear gas and rubber bullets at dozens of demonstrators.
“Neighbourhoods and streets have been blockaded by armoured vehicles and men carrying rifles,” the information ministry, still loyal to Hamdok, said in a statement, also alleging that “women were dragged” to the ground.
“All security on the streets now look like the Bashir-era forces,” one protester lamented to the AFP news agency. Neighbourhood committees have announced plans for further protests. - AFP