House of Commons Library

Military coup in Sudan

Published Thursday, April 11, 2019

The armed forces take power in Sudan, removing President Omar al-Bashir from power. This short briefing paper looks at recent developments.

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The Sudanese army announced on 11 April 2019 it had removed President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s long-time President, from power.

The announcement follows months of demonstrations against Bashir’s Presidency and the Sudanese regime. Army general and Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf said the army will oversee a transitional government for the next two years and declared a three-month state of emergency. Protestors had been calling for a civilian-led transitional government.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted:

Sudan’s brave people have called for change, but it must be real change. A military council ruling for 2 years is not the answer. We need to see a swift move to an inclusive, representative, civilian leadership. And we need to ensure there’s no more violence.

President Omar al-Bashir has ruled Sudan since taking power in a coup in 1989 and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Protests at rising living costs and the deteriorating economic situation that began on 19 December 2018 quickly spread to the capital. The UK, US and the UN criticised the forceful response by Sudanese security forces to peaceful demonstrators. Dozens have been killed and hundreds arrested. 

The President declared a year-long state of emergency in February 2019, dismissed the government, replaced state governors with army and security officers, set up emergency courts and banned protests. However, demonstrations continued.

A consortium of civil society, labour and political organisations issued a Declaration of Freedom and Change at the beginning of the year calling for a civilian-composed transitional government to serve for four years. 

A sit-in outside the Army headquarters on 6 April 2019 appears to have been the impetus for the army to depose President Bashir. Elements of the army reportedly stepped in to protect protestors from national security forces.

On 11 April 2019 Army general and defence minister Awad Ibn Ouf declared Bashir had been removed from power, the army would lead a transitional government for the next two years, and declared a three-month state of emergency.

The Library has previously examined the political situation in Sudan and the international dimensions in more detail in ‘Sudan: December 2017 update’. 

This short update examines developments since December 2018 when the current protests began. At the time of writing the situation remains fluid and this paper will be updated periodically.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement paved the way for a referendum in southern Sudan on independence in January 2011. South Sudan subsequently declared independence on 9 July 2011. Recent developments are available in Library paper ‘South Sudan: March 2019 update’. All Library material on Sudan and South Sudan can be found on the Commons Library website.

 

 

 

 

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8546

Author: Louisa Brooke-Holland

Topics: Africa, International politics and government

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