Sudan’s coup leader releases detained ministers

The prisoner release is a positive first step in a power-sharing deal to resolve the deepening crisis amid growing economic, civilian and international pressure.

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Image : UN

The leader of Sudan’s military coup, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, ordered the release of four ministers detained on October 25 during a military takeover, Sudan TV reported on Thursday.

The ministers of culture and information, communication and digitalisation, trade and youth and sports were among those released, state television said.

The prisoner release was one of the pre-conditions to a power-sharing deal that is under discussion between military leaders and the ousted government, UN special representative to Sudan Volker Perthes told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Perthes said the “contours” of the deal included the return of ousted prime minister Abdalla Hamdok to office, the release of detainees, the lifting of a state of emergency, a new cabinet composed of technocrats and adjustments to the 14-member Sovereign Council that heads the transition process, Reuters says.

Public disclosure of the deal came amid growing international pressure to find a way out of the deepening crisis, as mass civilian revolt swelled across the country and major donors the US and World Bank cut crucial aid.

Military officers in Sudan launched a string of arrests of government officials on the morning of October 25, and seized control of government buildings.

Speaking at a news conference that day after the coup, al-Burhan defended the coup as necessary to avert a “civil war” and promised to transfer power following elections in 2023.

An “independent and fair representative government” will assume power until a new one is elected in 2023, he said in a televised statement.

This grab taken from Sudan TV shows army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan addressing the Sudanese people on October 25, 2021. (Photo by Sudan TV / AFP)

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