Ethiopia proposes civilian-majority ruling body for Sudan: protesters

Ethiopia proposes civilian-majority ruling body for Sudan: protesters
Two protest leaders said an Ethiopian envoy mediating with the ruling generals has proposed forming a 15-member body led by civilians.
3 min read
22 June, 2019
More than 100 protesters were killed in Sudan [Getty]

An Ethiopian envoy mediating with the ruling generals has proposed forming a civilian-majority governing body for a political transition in Sudan, Sudanese protest leaders said on Saturday.

Citing a compromise blueprint for the transition which they saw, two protest leaders told AFP it suggests the creation of a 15-member body led by civilians.

Tension between the protest leaders and generals, who seized power after ousting president Omar Bashir in April, has been high since a deadly crackdown on a protest camp in Khartoum killed dozens earlier this month.

The crackdown carried out by men in military uniforms came after talks between the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the composition of the new ruling body and who should lead it - a civilian or soldier.

Ethiopia has stepped up its efforts to resolve the political crisis in Sudan in the wake of a deadly dispersal of a sit-in outside the army headquarters where thousands had been camped since April 6.

Days after the crackdown, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tried to mediate between the two sides.

His envoy on Saturday Mahmoud Dardir was to discuss the compromise blueprint for a political transition with protest leaders.

One of them, Amjad Farid, said the document "asserts the previous agreements, as well as a proposal to form the sovereign council of eight civilians and seven military".

He said of the eight civilians, seven would be from the umbrella protest movement the Alliance for Freedom and Change.

Another protest leader Madani Abbas Madani also confirmed that compromise calls for a civilian-majority governing body.

In previous talks, protest leaders and the generals had agreed on a three-year transition period and to form a 300-member parliament, with two-third lawmakers from the protest movement.

Ethiopia stepped up its efforts to resolve the political crisis in Sudan since the deadly June 3 dispersal of a long-running protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum. 

At least 128 people have been killed in the crackdown, the majority of them on that day, doctors linked to the protest movement say.

The health ministry put the June 3 death toll at 61 nationwide.

The generals deny they ordered the army HQ protest broken up, insisting they authorised only a limited operation to clear drug dealers from around the camp.

It expressed "regret" over the "excesses" that happened on June 3.

The protesters' alliance has insisted on a civilian-led transition. Last week, protest leaders from the Alliance for Freedom and Change started organising daily simultaneous gatherings to revive the protest movement.


Last week, a top Sudanese general said the mastermind behind the deadly crackdown on protesters has been identified, but refused to name him saying it would impact a probe into the raid.

Protesters and witnesses allege that the 3 June crackdown, which saw crowds of protesters violently dispersed by men in military uniforms, was carried out by members of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), whose commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is the deputy chief of the country's ruling military council.

But Dagalo, widely known as Himeidti, said on Thursday that an investigation into the crackdown has so far led to the identity of the man who planned the raid.

"We have identified the man responsible" for dispersing the protest camp, Dagalo said without naming the individual, adding "there's no need to impact the investigation".

"Whoever it is, whether from regular forces or a civilian, will be brought to trial. The investigation will be transparent and the trial will be public."

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