Sudan’s army chief on Thursday ordered the release of four civilian ministers after the US and UN mounted pressure on his military coup that derailed the eastern African country’s democratic transition.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said a new government was “imminent” while keeping his cards close to his chest on what it would look like.
The announcement came as the United Nations has been coordinating efforts to find a way out of Sudan’s political crisis following the October 25 coup in which top civilian politicians were detained and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was placed under house arrest. Pro-democracy protesters have staged large demostrations denouncing the coup, which derailed the country’s fragile transition towards civilian rule.
The UN special envoy for Sudan said talks had yielded the outline of a potential deal on a return to power-sharing, including Hamdok’s reinstatement, but added it had to be agreed in “days not weeks” before both sides’ positions harden.
Last week, al-Burhan said he wanted to form a new government of technocrats, and that Hamdok could return to lead it.
On Wednesday, Hamdok’s office denied a report he had agreed to lead a new government and insisted that he wanted detainees released and governing bodies restored before entering into any dialogue.
Neighbourhood resistance committees, which have led protests since the coup and held demonstrations on Thursday, have rejected negotiations and have demanded that the military exit politics.