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Days after military takeover, Sudan’s army leader says govt. formation ‘imminent’

Sudan's military chief and de facto leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

Sudan's military chief and de facto leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan says the formation of a new government is “imminent”, days after the military took over through a much-condemned coup.

“We are considering all internal and external initiatives to serve the national interest,” said Burhan’s media advisor Taher Abouhaga, adding, “The government formation is imminent.”

Massive anti-government rallies, mostly over deteriorating economic problems, engulfed Sudan more than two years ago, with protesters, mostly young Sudanese, demanding former president Omar al-Bashir to step down.

Bashir was ultimately deposed through a military coup following months of protests in April 2019, after ruling over the African country for three decades.

In August that year, a governing council, comprised of civilian and military leaders, was founded to run the country.

The transitional civilian-military administration, Sudan’s highest executive authority, is tasked with leading the country to free and fair multiparty elections.

However, a military coup was staged on October 25 that dissolved the fragile government. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was detained and put under house arrest in a move that infuriated the Sudanese and sparked international outcry, including from the UN Security Council.

Other civilian leaders are in military detention.

The military takeover also triggered nationwide mass protests against the military, which mounted a violent crackdown on demonstrations, resulting in at least a dozen people killed and scores wounded.

World powers have already demanded quick return to civilian rule, and cut aid as a punitive measure against a country mired in a dire economic crisis.

Burhan, who served under Bashir's three-decades-long rule, has denied that the army's seizure of power constitutes a coup, saying the transitional government was overthrown to avoid a civil war in the African country and “to rectify the course of the transition.”

On Thursday, small gatherings of anti-coup protesters rallied in neighborhoods around capital Khartoum, chanting “Down with military rule.”

UN chief speaks with Burhan

Separately on Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held a phone conversation with General Burhan, said a UN spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General reiterated his call for the release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other civilians arbitrarily detained in Sudan,” the spokesperson further said in a statement.

The UN chief also urged the military leader to restore the constitutional order and the transitional process.

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