GP Insights # 61, 8 June 2019
On June 3, 2019, Sudanese forces attacked a protest camp in Khartoum killing over 60 people. The worst violence since April 11 overthrow of Omar-al-Bashir has drawn global condemnation. Amidst accusations against Sudanese military of committing brutal assaults, hospital attacks and rapes, the protestors have called it “a massacre”, while the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) has denied and limited the attack to “unruly” groups.
What is the background?
Following the floating of bread prices in December 2018, a large-scale grassroots protest engulfed Sudan ending the decades-long rule of Bashir. In the immediate aftermath, TMC came to power to oversee a transitional period of a maximum of two years. Questioning their credibility, protest leaders called for complete paralysis of public life through total civil disobedience to arm-twist Sudan’s military into ceding power immediately to a civilian-led government.
What does it mean?
TMC’s decision to hold elections within nine months was rejected by the Opposition a day after the deadly crackdown. As internal strife erupts, brutalities have started again. Amidst calls from HRW for a UN inquiry regarding 'egregious rights abuses' in Khartoum, the Britain-Germany led initiative to issue an immediate halt of violence in Sudan has been blocked by Russia and China in the UNSC. Meanwhile, Sudan has warned the Middle East against a more significant regional interference as a playing out of the Arabian cold war would only further misconstrue Sudan’s dynamics and ground realities.
With continuously deepening discords and the spurned transition plan, the Sudan crisis will continue to boil soon. The bodies that floated in the Nile river are proof that the escalated conflict is now becoming a protractive one.