Sudan’s reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has replaced the country’s police chiefs, in a move that came after more than 40 people were killed in a crackdown on pro-democracy protests following a military coup last month.
Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25 dissolved the country’s transitional government as security forces detained dozens of politicians, including Hamdok, and activists. However, after international condemnation and mass protests, he reinstated the prime minister in a November 21 deal that was slammed by the country’s pro-democracy movement protesting against the military’s involvement in politics.
Medics say at least 42 people were killed as security forces sought to crush weeks of anti-coup demonstrations, with protests continuing even after Hamdok’s release from house arrest and return to his post last week.
On Saturday, Hamdok said in a statement he had sacked the director-general of the police, Khaled Mahdi Ibrahim al-Emam, and his deputy, Ali Ibrahim.
In their place, he appointed Anan Hamed Mohamed Omar with Abdelrahman Nasreddine Abdallah as his deputy.
Doctors have accused security forces of targeting protesters in the “head, neck and torso” with live ammunition, as well as with rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters.
The police have denied reports they opened fire using live bullets.
In addition, hundreds of political activists, journalists, protesters and bystanders watching the rallies have been arrested in recent weeks, and remain in custody.
The protests this week have opposed Hamdok’s decision to sign the accord with the military, with some calling it a betrayal or saying it provides political cover for the takeover.
“Despite the fact that [the deal calls for accountability for the violence] it could be a step taken by the prime minister to appease the streets … it is not clear if that could have any impact,” said Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum.
“Especially because the anger is directed at the agreement and the fact that the prime minister signed an agreement in the first place,” she added.
While several civilian leaders have been released since last Sunday’s deal, key figures are also still in detention.
The agreement raised hopes for some that Sudan will be able to return to its tenuous transition process in place following the 2019 removal of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in the wake of mass protests against his rule.
Prior to last month’s coup, Sudan’s transitional government was composed of the sovereign council, a joint military-civilian body headed by al-Burhan, and a civilian cabinet led by Hamdok. The military was due to hand over the governing council’s leadership to a civilian in the coming months.
The deputy head of the sovereign council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview that aired on Friday that Hamdok was aware of last month’s military takeover before it happened and was “completely agreeable” to it.
Following the deal he signed with al-Burhan, Hamdok told Al Jazeera he would form a “technocratic government” made up of qualified professionals to lead the country to elections by June 2023.
The prime minister said he partnered with the military in order to “stop the bloodshed” and “not squander the gains of the last two years”.
The deal lays down a “clear date” for Sudan’s first free elections in three decades slated for July 2023, Hamdok added.