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Sudan: one year since Bashir’s downfall

Sudanese Former President Omar al-Bashir 

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP |  A recap of key events in Sudan one year after mass protests toppled its president Omar al-Bashir from power, ending three decades of iron-fisted rule.

– Bashir rule ends –

On April 11, 2019, four months after mass protests sparked by a hike in bread prices morph into wider demands for freedom, Sudan’s military authorities announce they have removed Bashir from power.

He is replaced by a transitional military government.

Defying a curfew, thousands of demonstrators remain camped in front of army headquarters as the protest movement demands a civilian government.

– Talks impasse –

Negotiations between ruling generals and protest leaders end abruptly on May 20 without a deal on the makeup of a joint civilian-military council to govern during a transition.

– Bloody crackdown –

On June 3, armed men in military fatigues move in on the protest camp outside army headquarters and disperse thousands of protesters.

Dozens are killed in the ensuing days-long crackdown.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a feared paramilitary group which sprang from the notorious Janjaweed militia accused by rights groups of committing war crimes in Darfur, is blamed for the violence.

Army chiefs announce a probe.

The military scraps all previous agreements with protest leaders for a transition and calls for elections within nine months.

Protesters denounce a putsch.

After both sides signal they are ready to talk again, Ethiopia and African Union mediators in late June present new proposals for a transition.

– Power deal agreed –

On July 5, after two days of negotiations, the two sides agree in principle on an accord providing for power-sharing before transition to civilian rule.

On August 17, the military and protest leaders sign the hard-won “constitutional declaration” and the sovereign council is formed three days later.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who will head the council for 21 months, is sworn in on August 21 and economist Abdalla Hamdok is confirmed as prime minister.

The first post-Bashir government is sworn in on September 8.

– Peace talks – 

In October the government and rebel groups enter peace talks in Juba, South Sudan.

Sudan on October 16 announces a “permanent ceasefire” in the country’s three war zones and green-lights the provision of humanitarian aid.

In late November Bashir’s party is dissolved.

– Bashir convicted –

On December 14, a Sudanese court convicts Bashir of graft and sentences him to serve two years in a correctional centre. He also faces separate charges in Sudan over the deaths of protesters and the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

– Darfur probe –

On December 22, Sudan opens an investigation into crimes committed by Bashir in Darfur from 2003. He has long been wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the conflict.

On January 24, 2020, a coalition of nine rebel groups from the Blue Nile and Darfur regions sign a preliminary agreement with the government.

On February 11, a top Sudanese official says Bashir will be handed to the ICC.

Prime Minister Hamdok survives unharmed an attack on his convoy in Khartoum on March 9 that underlines the fragility of the transition.

– Coronavirus –

Sudan announces a state of emergency and a near-total closure of its borders on March 16, to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 25, Defence Minister Lieutenant General Jamal al-Din Omar dies of an “illness” during peace talks in Juba.

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