Sudan's Army Chief Appoints Himself as Head of Ruling Council, Tightening Grip on Power

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Sudan's head of the military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, speaks during a press conference at the General Command of the Armed Forces in Khartoum, Sudan, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.
Sudan's head of the military, Gen. al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference at the General Command of the Armed Forces in Khartoum, Sudan.Credit: AP Photo/Marwan Ali

Sudan’s top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has re-appointed himself as head of the army-run interim governing body, a sign that he is tightening his grip on the country two weeks after he led a coup against civilian leaders.

Burhan's deputy will remain Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with both men keeping roles they had held before the coup.

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Thursday's development comes even as the military has pledged to hand over power to civilian authorities.

Since the October 25 coup, more than 100 government officials and political leaders have been detained, along with a large number of protesters and activists. This includes Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who has been under house arrest.

Sudan has been in the midst of a fragile transitional period after a 2019 pro-democracy uprising led to the removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir from power. The eleven-member Sovereign Council was first formed in summer 2019 after the military signed a power-sharing deal with pro-democracy forces.

Mediation aimed at securing the release of detainees and a return to power-sharing has stalled since the coup as the military has moved to consolidate control.

The new council also includes representatives of rebel groups that reached a peace deal with the government last year, and figures from Sudan's regions, state TV said.

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