For The People

Sudan, one step closer

Sudan, Africa’s largest country, has been a nation of political unrest and an unsteady economy. Between 2003 and 2008 there has been at least 300 000 people killed and over 2 million people displaced during the Darfur conflict while the government and rebel groups were up in arms.

June 30, 1989 Lt. General Omar al Bashir seizes power in a coup and later becomes president of Sudan in October 1993 after the Revolutionary Command Council is solidified. During his reign as president, the United States of America sanctioned Sudan over the alleged support of militant groups and civil war in Darfur. There is discrimination between South Sudan and Sudan as South Sudan is mainly non-Arabic. South Sudan becomes an Independent state in 2011.

The International Crimes Court (ICC) called for the arrest of Al Bashir for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Initially, in the East, citizens protested as there due to an increase in the price of bread and fuel, two of their most basic necessities. The protests spread through to Khartoum in December 2018. The protests escalated nationwide with protestors now wanting Al Bashir and his government removed from power. In the ruling of Al Bashir for a period of 30 years he was overthrown by a council of generals that assumed power. Sudanese women were at the fore front of protests, they were inferior to men and having infringed rights and very little freedom. The military counsel led by General Mohamed Hamdan replaced Bashir, however the people of Sudan were still not satisfied with the transition.

On the 3rd of June 2019 protestors were peacefully protesting when troops opened fire on them. They wanted a transition to be formed from military rule to civilian rule as protests had been going on for weeks prior to the attack and they were all peaceful. It is estimated that hundreds of people were killed, doctors raped and thousands injured when the military fired live ammunition at demonstrators. Zamile Mbodlana, a member of the South African National Defence Force was deployed to Darfur in 2012 for a period of six months and said, “The people in Sudan are hostile. It is an underdeveloped state that still has stick houses and very little infrastructure. It was relatively safe where we worked even though we ran into difficulties with the locals no more than thrice. We were there to provide humanitarian aid and also help communities where we could”.

The violence that occurred on the 3rd of June got international exposure. On Instagram users were changed their profile pictures to a plan blue icon, in an attempt to create awareness on what is happening in Sudan. It has been agreed that whilst preparations are taking place for the elections three years and three months from now, the country shall be run as a civilian-led government with five members from the military and five members from the protest movement, the 11th member shall be a civilian chosen by both sides.

There is still a long journey that Sudan needs to embark on to correct the wrongs of the past, yet a step forward is always progress.

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