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Sudan frees 125 political prisoners after lifting state of emergency

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A day after announcing the suspension of a state of emergency, the Sudanese military authority headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has announced the release of 125 political prisoners who have been in detention since the military take over in October last year.

The released activists, all members and leaders of the Resistance Committees, a group opposed to the military coup, were released on Monday from various detention facilities in the capital Khartoum, Port Sudan and Rabak in the southeast.

The Sudanese Transitional Sovereign Council had announced the lifting of the state of emergency on Sunday after the Security and Defense Council, Sudan’s highest body that decides on security matters, met and decided that the emergency law be scrapped.

While the council had also recommended that people detained under the emergency law should be freed, the Sudanese defense minister had insisted in a statement that the recommendations were only meant to facilitate dialogue between the military and the pro-democracy movement.

Since the October 2021 military take-over that ended a military-civilian power sharing arrangement, there have been regular and relentless demonstrations across the country with hundreds of people marching in the capital demanding the return of constitutional order.

The protesters have been demanding the removal of the military from power prompting the ruling junta to make a promise of only handing over power to an elected administration, with elections scheduled to take place in July 2023, as part of plans contained in a constitutional document governing the transition period.

The demonstrations have also seen at least 100 protesters killed by security forces loyal to the military administration.

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South Sudan’s ruling party endorses President Salva Kiir for next election

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The ruling party in South Sudan has endorsed President Salva Kiir as its candidate in the country’s delayed election scheduled for the end of 2024.

President Kiir while speaking at the end of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s leadership session, accepted the ruling party endorsement for the 2024 election.

“We passed through a difficult situation, but we came out and stood together,” the president said to cheers. He added: “I have never failed you before; I believe that we will fight together whatever battles that are coming.”

South Sudan is in a dire situation with approximately two-thirds of the population, in danger of famine as they face acute food insecurity during the next lean season as climate shocks and conflict deepen the already vulnerable situation for many.

South Sudan is in a fragile state between war and peace. In February 2020, after a two-year process, the conflict parties of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former First Vice President Riek Machar.

President Kiir has been the country’s only president since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

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Ruling junta, politicians sign agreement for civil transition in Sudan. Will it work?

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An agreement for a civilian-led transition that will last for two years has been made between Sudanese political parties and the military.

The arrangement is toward elections and ends a sometimes violent standoff triggered by a coup in October 2021.

The power-sharing arrangement between the military and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition was delayed due to the absence of a Prime Minister after a coup in 2021.

The military under the new arrangement agreed it would only be represented on a security and defence council headed by a prime minister.

The military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said civilians should control politics and guide foreign policy. Signatories applauded when he repeated a slogan used by protesters to call for the army to exit politics: “Soldiers belong in the barracks, and parties go to elections.”

Recall that Sudanese politician, Wagdi Salih was released from prison on Sunday ahead of the discussion surrounding the coalition agreement.

Meanwhile, the transition plan does not seem to have sat well with some session of the public as security officers fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters about 1-1/2km from the presidential palace on Monday over the development.

One of the protesters, 36-year-old state employee Ahmed Fateh al-Rahman, said. “We want justice for our martyrs, trial for the military, and civilian rule.” “We will defeat this agreement because it is an extension of the coup.”

Will the arrangement lead to lasting progress in the political crises facing the East African country?

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