Sudanese revolutionaries call for reform of armed forces

Statements by the President and Deputy of the Sovereignty Council accusing the country’s political groups of being more preoccupied with positions than politics have met with strong criticism from various parties.

In response to a foiled coup attempt on Tuesday, Lieutenant General Abdelfattah El Burhan, Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Head of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and Lieutenant General Mohamed Dagalo ‘Hemeti’ vice -President of the Sovereignty Council and Head of Rapid Support Militia Forces *, blamed the Sudanese political forces for the crisis in the country and condemned the lack of respect towards the military.

They accused politicians of bickering and quarreling over positions instead of working for the future of the country.

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the driving force behind the Sudanese revolution that led to the overthrow of President Omar Al Bashir’s regime, viewed the statements by the President and Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council as “a setback for the agenda of revolution and democratic transformation ”.

The speeches of the military leaders contained “a bunch of errors and baseless accusations against the FFC,” the group said in a press release yesterday. Their demands constitute “a direct threat to the democratic transition as they attempt to create a wedge between the forces of the civil revolution and the armed forces of the people, and undermine the foundations on which the revolution was founded”.

The FFC called for the acceleration of the reform of the military and security service, the disposal of the remains [of the Al Bashir regime], and the implementation of the stipulations of the Juba 2020 Peace Agreement, in particular the implementation of the protocol of security arrangements.


According to the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), “the statements of the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and his deputy contained dangerous clues and unacceptable contradictions”.

“The military is responsible for the failure to deal with growing insecurity in the country and to prevent repeated coup attempts” – Sudanese Congress Party

The SCP holds the military responsible for the crises the country is going through, “by claiming a monopoly of supervision over the country and the exclusive right to rule it during the period of transition”.

In a press release yesterday, the party blames the military for “the failure to deal systematically with growing insecurity in large parts of the country and to prevent repeated coup attempts,” and said called for “the unification of the armed forces under the auspices of a professional military institution”. The party further demands that the finance ministry be solely responsible for all public resources, including investment companies affiliated with military forces.

The Sudanese Journalists Network also considers the statements by the country’s military leaders on Wednesday “a step forward towards seizing power”. The network will work with other forces “to urgently mobilize the population and develop a professional action plan to deal with such attempts”.

The Democratic Lawyers Alliance described Tuesday’s failed coup attempt as “a repeat and a measuring stick to show the extent of the street reaction to military change.” Lawyers wondered why the information about the attempted coup came only from the military themselves and why the names of the people behind the coup have not yet been known. They called for regular updates on the surveys.

Civil rule

The alliance, with the Sudanese Central Committee of Physicians, the Preparatory Committee for the Restoration of the Journalists’ Union, the Committee of Pharmacists, the Committee of Laboratory Technicians, the Resistance Committees in Khartoum and 17 other professional and revolutionary associations signed a joint statement in which they firmly rejected the statements of El Burhan and Hemeti.

Activists from El Obeid in North Kordofan, Nyala in South Darfur, Delling in South Kordofan and El Gedaref held protest vigils on Thursday condemning the failed coup attempt and statements by military leaders. The protesters all called for civilian rule.

* The Rapid Support Paramilitary Forces (RSF) were created by the ousted Al Bashir regime in 2013. The militia stemming from the Janjaweed groups who have fought for the Sudanese government in Darfur since the start of the war in 2003, is widely held responsible for the atrocities committed in the region over the past six or seven years. The RSF are also held responsible for the violent outbreak of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3. Tens of thousands of RSF troops have joined the Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015.

The RSF is said to have built a vast trading empire that not only captures much of the country’s gold industry, but also has huge interests in many sectors of the Sudanese economy.

Officially, the RSF was integrated into the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) two years ago. In the constitutional charter of August 2019, it was agreed that the army and the RSF would be placed under the command of the “supreme commander of the Sudanese armed forces”. At the same time, however, the militia remained a force in its own right, commanded by Mohamed Dagalo ‘Hemeti’, vice-chairman of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council.

In the October 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, the Sudanese government and a number of rebel movements agreed to form a single professional national army with a new unified military doctrine making SAF, RSF, other forces of security and fighters of former rebel movements “a single unified regular force that serves the supreme interests of the State of Sudan”. In June of this year, Hemeti publicly refused to integrate his forces into the Sudanese army. Later in the month, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok spoke of the need to reform Sudanese military institutions, including the integration of the RSF militia into “a unified national army”.

Thelma J. Longworth

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