Sudan Briefing: May-July 2019 Timeline of Events

15 July 2019

Recent events in Sudan

May 1st

  • African Union issues third warning giving the junta two-months to hand over power to civilians or risk suspension.

May 13th

  • A shooting outside military headquarters in Central Khartoum leaves six people dead
  • Sudanese prosecutors claim that al-Bashir has been charged with involvement in killing and incitement to kill protestors during the popular uprising.

May 14th

  • Protestors claim that security officers loyal to al-Bashir had attacked their sit-ins overnight
    • This set off a clash which resulted in the deaths of five people, including an army officer
  • A three-year transitional arrangement is agreed between the military and Sudan citizens whereby the military acts as a transitional government for three years at which point civilian rule would take place.
    • There is still disagreement though over what the make-up of the sovereign council, which would be the highest decision-making body in the transitional period, should be. It is undecided whether the council should be majority military or majority civilian.

May 16th

  • Talks are postponed as the military makes demands that barricades by protestors that are outside the designated protest area must be removed.

May 19th

  • Suspects in the killings of five pro-democracy protestors were arrested by the military government

May 25th

  • Thousands of Islamists, who have long been supporters of and associated with al-Bashir’s regime, rally in Khartoum to support military rule.

May 28th

  • Leaders of the protest movement commence a two-day general strike in order to force the army to hand over power to a civilian-led government.

June 3rd

  • Protest leaders say security forces attack their Khartoum sit-in at the centre of the movement, opening fire, torching tents and killing more than 100 people and injuring over 300.
    • The assault on June 3 marked the worst violence in Sudan since the April 11 overthrow of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.
    • The security forces’ bloody dispersal of the weeks-long sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum drew sharp condemnation from the United Nations, the African Union (AU) and others.

June 3rd-July 9th

  • Severe restriction to the internet throughout Sudan from June 3 to July 9 on orders of the ruling Transitional Military Council.

June 4th

  • ’40 bodies pulled from the Nile’ after deadly violence. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said 40 bodies were retrieved from the Nile River.

June 6th

  • African Union suspends Sudan.

June 9-11th

  • Three-day national strike and civil disobedience campaign carried out
  • ‘Four people killed’ At least four people have been killed on the first day of a civil disobedience campaign, according to a doctors’ group linked to demonstrators.
    • Two people were shot dead in the capital Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman, said the Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors (CCSD), adding that two others died in a hospital in Omdurman after being stabbed and beaten, blaming paramilitary forces for the deaths.
    • It said a total of 118 people have been killed since a crackdown was launched on June 3 to disperse a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.

June 12th

  • The TMC agreed to release political prisoners and the Forces and Freedom and Change alliance (FFC) agreed to suspend the general strike.
  • The FFC prepared a list of 8 civilian names, including three women, to put forward for the 15 people transitional government

June 30th

  • Marks the 30 year anniversary since al-Bashir took power. Twenty thousand people protested in Khartoum and elsewhere around Sudan to call for civilian rule and justice for the 3 June massacre.
  • Ten people were killed during the demonstrations and according to the Health Ministry, 181 people were injured among which 27 suffered gunshot wounds. Tear gas, live ammunition, and stun grenades were used against protestors in Khartoum and in El-Gadarif.
  • The opposition attributed the death of protesters to the TMC, while the TMC attributed death to the protestors.

July 3rd

  • Direct talks between the TMC and the DFCF resumed after mediation by the African Union and Ethiopia.

July 5th

  • With the help of African Union and Ethiopian mediators, a verbal deal was reached by the TMC and civilian negotiators of the FFC

July 11th

  • FMC’s attempted coup to avoid sharing power with the opposition is foiled, resulting in 12 officers and 4 soldiers being arrested.


The Concern

  • That the military will not surrender power to the civilians in the transitional arrangement and that they will establish a military dictatorship using violent means.
  • That the details of the conflict will remain under-reported by the international media and the crisis in Sudan will not attract mainstream attention.
  • Civil disobedience/civil war could break out in Sudan due to the ongoing and frequent attacks against civilians.

What should HMG do?

  • Ensure that the crisis in Sudan gains wider Western media coverage than it is currently receiving.
  • Support the African Union (AU) and Ethiopia in mediating talks between protestors and the military whilst also pressing for a democratic transition in Sudan.

Concluding Statement

Since the fall of al-Bashir, there has been constant tension between military, the civilians and the protestors. Deaths and violence in Khartoum have been frequent and the negotiations for a transitional appear to have the potential to fall apart at any moment. The military has openly attacked journalists and Sudanese civilians, which appears to show an authoritarian streak to the military and raises the spectre of a military dictatorship.

A primary concern at present is the lack of international media coverage. Power shortages have contributed towards this. More generally, it is feared that the military will refuse to hand over power to the civilian population, despite international pressure, including from the pan-African body the AU. If tensions were once again to turn into violence, it is also feared that refugees and internally displaced peoples would struggle to access basic amenities. Their fleeing may also unsettle the region as they spill over into nearby countries including Uganda and Ethiopia.

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