(Washington, DC) – The Enough Project is gravely concerned by the nature of the coup d’etat that took place in Sudan overnight. President Omar al-Bashir’s First Vice-President and Minister of Defense, General Awad Ibn Auf, announced that he is taking power on behalf of the Supreme Security Committee, the country’s main security force. The announcement represents all the trappings of a successful palace coup that does not respond to the aspirations and demands of the Sudanese people for real change.
The obvious aim of this alleged coup d’etat is to relieve the tremendous pressures demanding the ouster of Bashir and his regime that have been made by the formidable non-violent people’s revolution since mid-December and that intensified in the past week. This has led to the regime losing control for the first time in the 30 years of its genocidal and kleptocratic rule of Sudan.
Dr. Suliman Baldo, Senior Advisor to the Enough Project, said: “The Bashir regime is attempting to regain control by appearing to respond to the people’s demands. Indeed, the purpose of the sit-in that hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have participated in since April 6 was to demand that the army side with the people’s demands for freedom, peace, and justice through a genuine transition to democratic rule during an interim period of four years. Such a transition period is needed to reform all the institutions of the state and rebuild the political parties and civic institutions weakened by 30 years of vicious security attacks and corruption by the regime of President Bashir.”
Don Cheadle, Actor and Activist with a long history of working on Sudan issues, said: “As we have watched and celebrated the people of Sudan coming together and demanding change, and as we read the news this morning that Bashir has been removed, we remain mindful that the man announcing this development, General Awad Ibn Auf, is himself sanctioned for orchestrating genocide and other war crimes in Darfur.”
John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “The violent, corrupt system Bashir built over the last 30 years has to be dismantled for Sudan to have a chance. Bashir’s hand-picked generals say they are going to oversee a transition to democracy, which is like having the foxes oversee improvements to the henhouse. The United States, Europe, and other interested parties should support system change, because regime change is insufficient. Bashir should immediately be extradited to The Hague to face charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, both as a measure of justice for the death and displacement in Sudan and as a signal to future leaders in Sudan and globally that such crimes do not pay.”
Omer Ismail, Senior Advisor to the Enough Project, said: “The Sudanese people have sacrificed life and limb for 30 years in order to reach a day when they can enjoy freedom and dignity. This palace coup, which keeps the structure of the Bashir regime in place, is devastating in that light. The Sudanese people will continue to strive towards democracy and to reclaim their country from this kleptocratic regime. At this time, they need their friends and allies to stand by their side until their hope is restored, and their dreams of freedom, peace and justice are achieved.”
The Enough Project is alarmed by the declaration of a month-long curfew, daily from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., which we believe is meant to undermine the efforts of the protestors who are insisting on real change. It is significant that the opposition coalition, the Freedom and Change Forces (CFC), which has led the peaceful uprising of the Sudanese people for change, has rejected General Ibn Auf’s statement and asked the population to maintain the sit-in around the army headquarters. The coup perpetrators did not consult with the CFC to agree on the transitional arrangements, and instead General Ibn Auf announced a two-year transition entirely controlled by the military. That is unacceptable to the opposition coalition that has organized the pro-democracy protests for the last four months. The crisis in Sudan is entering a new stage and has not yet been resolved.
General Ibn Auf was sanctioned by the United States in 2006 for his role in orchestrating the genocidal campaign in Darfur in which the Sudanese army and Janjaweed militias under its command have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, burnt thousands of villages to the ground, and forced 2.5 million people to flee to internal displacement and refugee camps where they remain until today. This is not the kind of leadership that will reform Sudan.
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The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.