‘We’ll be celebrating victory soon’ – Sudanese community leader

A Sudanese demonstrator waves a national flag as he arrives to protest against the army's announcement that President Omar al-Bashir would be replaced by a military-led transitional council, outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 12, 2019. REUTERS

In the wake of recent political upheaval in Sudan, Malta’s Sudanese community is cautiously optimistic about the future.

Speaking to Newsbook.com.mt, the leader of the Sudanese community in Malta Mohamed Ibrahim, said that ‘soon they will be celebrating their victory.’

His optimism comes as the country’s long standing leader President Omar Al-Bashir was toppled after almost 30 years controlling Sudan and later North Sudan.  The move follows months of protests in the capital Khartoum in which students and locals have taken to the streets objecting to the government’s planned price increases in food and fuel.

This came to a head on Thursday when a military coup led by the Sudan’s Defence Minister Mohammed Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, overthrew and detained Bashir on Thursday and replaced him the following day with a transitional military council.

الفاشر ناو ✌️

Posted by Saddam Salih on Thursday, April 11, 2019

In addition to calling for a transitional period for democratic elections, the council also announced that instead of sending Bashir to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, it would try Bashir in Sudan.

Quoting a police spokesperson Reuters reports that around 16 people had been killed and a further 20 were injured by gunfire at protests on both Thursday and Friday. Government buildings and private citizens property were also damaged in the protests.

300,000 or 10,000?

In the past three decades, Bashir had been accused of committing an array of human rights abuses against the country’s people.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest back in 2009 and 2010 when it charged Al-Bashir with committing crimes against humanity and genocide. The UN had estimated that the Darfur conflict 300,000 people were killed and nearly 3 million have been displaced because of it.  This is compared to the fraction the Sudanese government put forward (10,000).

The ICC prosecutor said that Mr Al-Bashir, ‘masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part’ the killing of three ethnic tribes in the region.

‘Our dignity has been brushed [aside by] this government. We have been killed and separated from our families, forced to flee around the world. Sudan is a rich country but we had become the poorest people forced to become beggars standing in rows in refugee camps waiting for assistance from locals and international organisations,’ Ibrahim says.

Scenes from Al Fashir, Sudan Credit: Saddam Salih

‘He needs to go’

Mr Ibrahim explained to Newsbook.com.mt in December last year, that the protests against Bashir were a regular occurrence.

They were aimed at ousting him and readdressing the inequality and lack of access to food, water and transportation. Although he and others left Sudan, nothing has changed, things have only gotten worse.

Malta’s Sudanese community calling for their nation’s leader to go

‘Those who are supporting the government, they don’t have any problems and they don’t feel the same equality others are facing in their lives. It’s been happening time and again. We have no solution so we should throw him out,’ he told Newsbook.com.mt in December last year.’

To raise awareness of the situation happening in Khartoum, the Sudanese Community organised a demonstration in Valletta as part of the growing solidarity in world capitals.

‘That’s the least we can do here.’

Resignations

Despite the optimism of change for Sudan, there have been some early resignations from the transitional military council.

The first to put forward his resignation was the current military chief Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, who led Bashir’s ousting. Only 48 hours had past since the military coup took control, according to African media outlets. Awad was originally named defence minister in Bashir’s cabinet following a reshuffle in February. He was expected to lead the transitional council to civilian elections.

Lieutenant General Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan Abdel-Rahman, Bashir’s Chief of Staff on ground forces was named as his replacement.

A further resignation has come from Salih Ghosh, Sudan’s head of National Intelligence and Security Service. Ghosh is understood to have been instrumental in deploying NISS agents in the crackdown on protestors across the last four months. Countless demonstrators, activitists and journalists have been killed, wounded in detained in that time. Ghosh is also understood to have played a part in the 1989 coup that led to Bashir’s accension to power.

The new council leader has accepted his resignation.