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Sudan

An October 2021 coup added new dangers to the turbulent transition that followed Sudan’s 2019 ouster of Omar al-Bashir, one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders. The strongman’s toppling, prompted by a sustained, peaceful campaign by a diverse and well-organised protest movement, raised hopes that the country might make a transition to more inclusive, civilian-led rule. Military officers were however reluctant to change. Civilians blamed them for inciting an ethnic group demanding greater representation under an October 2020 peace deal to block access to Khartoum from the coast, causing crushing shortages of essentials in the capital. Sudan matters because it sits in one of the most geostrategic locations on the continent, straddling the Horn and North Africa, with a long Red Sea coastline, and serves as a historical bridge between North and sub-Saharan Africa. Through research and advocacy in Sudan, we aim to reduce the likelihood of domestic conflict by encouraging more inclusive governance and positively engaged regional and foreign policies.

CrisisWatch Sudan

Unchanged Situation

Trilateral mechanism suspended direct talks between military and civilians, intercommunal violence killed over 120 people in West Darfur and military clashed with Ethiopian forces in disputed al-Fashaga area. Trilateral mechanism including UN mission in Sudan, AU and Intergovernmental Authority on Development 8 June facilitated direct talks between ruling military and civilian opposition groups, but main pro-democracy alliance Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Command (FFC-CC) boycotted meeting. U.S. and Saudi diplomats 9 June organised first informal meeting between FFC-CC and military since Oct 2021 coup; FFC-CC next day conditioned formal dialogue on military staying out of politics; amid impasse, trilateral mechanism 11 June indefinitely postponed second round of talks. Near-daily protests against military continued. Notably, thousands 3 June demonstrated across country on anniversary of 2019 crackdown on sit-in in capital Khartoum; mass protests also held 30 June in several cities. Security forces throughout month killed at least ten protesters, bringing death toll since coup to at least 110. In West Darfur state, fighting over land dispute between non-Arab Gimir and Arab Rizeigat communities 6-11 June killed at least 126 mostly Gimir people in Kulbus district, and left around 50,000 displaced; violence spread to North Darfur, with 13 ethnic Gimir villages allegedly attacked 7-10 June. Rizeigat and Misseriya tribes 18 June, and Arab and Massalit tribes 25 June signed reconciliation agreements in state capital El Geneina. In South Kordofan state, clashes between Kenana and Hawazma tribes 5-8 June reportedly killed at least 19 in Abu Jubayhah locality; clashes between Nuba and Baggara tribes 16 June killed five in state capital Kadugli. In Kassala state, intercommunal clashes between Bani Amer and Nuba communities 14-15 June reportedly killed at least five. Meanwhile, fighting erupted in disputed al-Fashaga zone bordering Ethiopia. Military 26 June said Ethiopian army 22 June executed seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian, which Addis Ababa denied. Govt 27 June said it was recalling ambassador from Ethiopia and summoned Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan. Sudanese forces 27-28 June fired heavy artillery into al-Fashaga and claimed control of Jabal Kala al-Laban town.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Dec 2021
Aid [for Sudan] should be wielded in a way that doesn’t have the military pocketing it or taking credit for it. Al Jazeera

Jonas Horner

Former Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
22 Nov 2021
The [Sudanese] military has shown its cards, it's clearly not seeking to deliver on the transition that people had called for during Sudan’s revolution in 2018-2019. VOA

Jonas Horner

Former Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
17 Nov 2021
There is increasing prospect of the military [in Sudan] splintering and dividing as some sections of junior officers may begin siding with protestors. Al-Monitor

Jonas Horner

Former Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
11 Nov 2021
The military [in Sudan] clearly feels little constraint to expanding its powers from either the street or international stakeholders. Bloomberg

Jonas Horner

Former Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
28 Oct 2021
They [Sudanese military] misunderstand the will on the street quite to their detriment. I think they are badly advised by regional powers supportive on this and uneasy by the prospect of transition. Reuters

Jonas Horner

Former Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
15 Oct 2021
[The] completion of Sudan’s transition to a civilian government would imperil the military’s tight hold over the economy and its impunity over abuses during and after the Bashir years. Al-Monitor

Jonas Horner

Former Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan

Latest Updates

Event Recording / Global

EU Watch List: 10 Cases Where the EU can Build Peace in 2022 (Online Event, 28th January 2022)

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries or regions at risk of deadly conflict or escalation thereof in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could enhance prospects for peace and stability.

Q&A / Africa

After the Coup, Restoring Sudan’s Transition

Mass protests have erupted throughout Sudan following the 25 October coup, prompting backlash from the security forces. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Jonas Horner outlines de-escalatory moves that could reinstate the constitutional order – and reset the country’s transition.

Podcast / Africa

Sudan After the Coup

This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Magdi el-Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, to discuss the competing interests now facing off against each other in Sudan after the military coup derailed the country’s transition. 

Podcast / Africa

The Military’s Dangerous Power Grab in Sudan

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group experts Jonas Horner and Murithi Mutiga about the military coup in Sudan that has upended the country’s transition and heightened risks of violence.

Statement / Africa

Reversing Sudan’s Dangerous Coup

The Sudanese military has ousted civilian leaders in a power grab that leaves the country’s transition in limbo. Led by the African Union, external actors should pull out all the stops to reverse a coup that could tip Sudan into sustained unrest and chaos.