Sudan was plunged into further political turmoil Sunday when Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, citing his failure to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.
In a televised speech, Hamdok said he did everything possible to keep the African nation from “sliding into disaster” and provide “security, peace, justice and an end to bloodshed.” He said it was time for someone else to lead the transition into a “civilian democratic country.”
Hamdok’s resignation Sunday came more than a month after he was reinstated as prime minister after being overthrown by the military in October. He had returned to office after reaching an agreement with the military to keep Sudan on a path towards planned elections in 2023.
An economist and former United Nations official, Hamdok was picked to lead the transitional government formed after the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 amid a popular uprising against his longtime autocratic rule. The transitional government was formed under a power sharing agreement between the military and a civilian coalition that was to govern Sudan until the 2023 elections.
The protests that led to President al-Bashir’s ouster flared up again after the military removed Hamdok from office on October 25, and continued even after the November agreement signed by Hamdok and military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. The military has responded with force, using tear gas, live ammunition and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrations.
The pro-democracy Sudan Doctors Committee said three people were killed Sunday in a clash between military forces and protesters before Hamdok’s resignation speech, raising the death toll since the October coup to 57, with hundreds more wounded.
The U.N. has also revealed allegations of recent sexual violence committed by security forces against female protesters, including gang rape.
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs issued a statement on its Twitter page after Hamdok resigned urging Sudanese leaders to “set aside differences, find consensus, and ensure continued civilian rule. Sudan’s next PM and cabinet should be appointed in line with the constitutional declaration to meet the people’s goals of freedom, peace, and justice.”
The bureau also said that the United States “continues to stand with the people of Sudan as they push for democracy” and called on authorities to end the crackdown saying “violence against protestors must cease.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and the Agence France-Presse.