Sudan’s army chief orders detained ministers released amid global pressure

The head of Sudan's military, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, told reporters the incident took place on Saturday. He said it showed how the military was protecting the country in the wake of a coup attempt in Khartoum last week.

Top army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has ordered the release of four civilian ministers who were detained when he led a military coup in which Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was placed under house arrest.

The four ministers released are Hashem Hassab Alrasoul, telecommunications minister; Ali Geddo, trade minister; Hamza Baloul, information minister; and Youssef Adam, youth and sports minister. However, several others remain detained, according to Aljazeera.

The move to release the ministers came shortly after a phone call from UN head Antonio Guterres to Burhan, where Guterres appealed to the military chief to restore the democratic transition. According to a United Nations statement, Guterres encouraged general Burhan to take action toward resolving “the political crisis in Sudan and urgently restoring the constitutional order and Sudan’s transitional process.”

During the call, Guterres reaffirmed that the UN “will continue to stand with the people of Sudan as they strive to fulfil their aspirations for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.”

Burhan pledged to “maintain the peace and inevitability of the democratic transition and to complete the transition process in a manner that preserves the security of the country, the gains of the revolution, and to reach an elected civilian government,” according to a state news agency.

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with Burhan, calling for the “immediate restoration of the civilian-led government” and the release of all political figures detained since the coup, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

“The two parties agreed on the need to maintain the path of the democratic transition, the need to complete the structures of the transitional government and to speed up the formation of the government,” his office said.

On October 25, Burhan dissolved the transitional government and detained other government officials and political leaders in a coup. Many were taken from their homes in the early morning hours and have been kept in undisclosed locations. The military leaders also raided the state news television headquarters and cut off mobile and internet communications across the country. Tens of thousands of people came out to protest. Internet services were still restricted. The coup took place as Sudan was progressing along a democratic path following the ouster of longstanding leader, President Omar al-Bashir, in April 2019.

Meanwhile, international pressure to resolve the crisis and re-install the civilian transitional government has been mounting.

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