The leader of Sudan's military coup said the military will appoint a new prime minister within a week, as international condemnation of the takeover builds.
After seizing power earlier this week, Sudan’s military dissolved the transitional government and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other ministers. The deposed leader and his wife were allowed to return to their home in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Tuesday.
The country’s top general, Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, is promising elections in July 2023. He told the Russian Sputnik news agency on Friday that the next premier will be a technocrat, but that the military has yet to draw up a list of candidates. Burhan said the military will name a prime minister in “a couple of days or within a week at the latest.”
"The previous prime minister was elected through consensus between political and military forces. Now there are no political forces, so we have a patriotic duty to lead the people and help them in the transition period until elections are held,” Burhan told the Russian agency. “We will choose a prime minister who will belong to technocrats.”
Citing sources familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reported Friday that Burhan wants Hamdok to resume his job on the condition that the military selects the new Cabinet. The sources told the US news outlet that the Sudanese general views Hamdok’s involvement in the new government as essential to securing international credibility.
The coup in Sudan threatens to undermine a transition to democracy underway since a popular uprising resulted in the overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Foreign powers, including the United States, were quick to condemn Burhan’s power grab, and on Monday, the State Department announced the suspension of $700 million in financial assistance.
In a statement on Thursday, President Joe Biden called for the restoration of Hamdok’s administration and for the Sudanese people to be allowed to protest peacefully.
“We believe strongly in Sudan’s economic potential and the promise of its future — if the military and those who oppose change do not hold it back,” Biden said.
The UN Security Council also issued a statement on Thursday calling “upon Sudan’s military authorities to restore the civilian-led transitional government” and urging "all stakeholders to engage in dialogue without pre-conditions.”
Protests erupted on Monday in response to the Burhan-led coup. Amnesty International said Friday it had confirmed the killing of at least six demonstrators at the hands of security forces who shot live rounds into the crowds. Another 140 people were wounded, the rights group said.
“We have no objection to peaceful demonstrations. It is a guaranteed right,” Burhan told Sputnik. “As long as protests are peaceful, security forces will not intervene.”