Sudan coup leader urges troops to back democratic transition

Sudan’s military chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, reaffirmed that the army would be placed under the authority of a new civilian-led government as talks on military reforms began on Sunday as part of a lengthy transition to civilian rule.

According to Al-Burhan, the process of security and military reform is a long and complicated one that cannot be bypassed.

“This participation [of the armed forces in the political scene, ed], through which it was intended to use the armed forces to support political parties or to impose dictatorships and support totalitarian governments; We want to put an end to that. We want to build armed forces that respect the standards of democratic regimes” said Al-Burhan.

The army’s Al-Burhan took power in a 2021 coup that scuttled a short-lived democratic transition after Al-Bashir was ousted in 2019.

The military and political parties signed an agreement in December to set up a civilian-led transitional government to oversee elections in two years. However, pro-democracy protest groups opposed the agreement, demanding the inclusion of transitional justice and security reforms.

Reform of the security forces is a major point of tension in the discussions on the political process launched in December, which calls for the withdrawal of generals from politics once a civilian government is in place.

The proposed reforms include the integration of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by al-Burhan’s deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti, into the regular army.

The Sudanese army has a long tradition of military takeovers and has accumulated considerable economic assets. It wants the RSF, which by some estimates numbers up to 100,000 fighters, to be brought under its control.

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