Return of Bashir loyalists raises Sudan alarm

Three years after Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a popular uprising, former members of his National Congress Party (NCP) were being given influential posts by the military junta, raising fears that they were making a political comeback.

A fragile transitional government was ended last year after Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan carried out a coup against his civilian partners, who had played a pivotal role in the mass protests against Bashir’s authoritarian rule.

Many saw the top generals – all members of a security committee appointed by Bashir in the dying days of his regime – as favouring the NCP, which imposed a strict version of Sharia (Islamic law) when in power.

Hamza Balol – a senior member of the pro-democracy Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) movement, which shared power with the generals until the coup – believed the military had sabotaged the transition by protecting the NCP.

He said the coup leaders had been “vigorously cooperating with the leaders of the previous regime to gain a political base”.

“(The) forces behind the revolution must unite to defeat the coup,” Mr Balol told the BBC.

More than 100 people have been killed since last October’s coup in regular protests demanding a return to civilian rule.

One of the first directives issued by Gen Burhan following the coup was to suspend the work of the committee set up to “dismantle” the former regime’s grip on power, and to reverse all its decisions.

The committee – led by lawyer Wajdi Saleh, who was detained after the military takeover – was instrumental in exposing the corruption that was rampant under Bashir.

It named corrupt officials and businessmen, fired civil servants, announced the seizures of assets, issued arrest warrants, froze bank accounts, and was investigating the dealings between the NCP leadership and army generals when the coup was staged.

The committee had its critics – some said it operated illegally, while others said it had become a tool for exacting unjust punishments.

After the coup, the military junta turned to the NCP and its sympathisers to consolidate its grip on power.

Hundreds of sacked employees returned to work at the central bank, the judiciary, prosecution service, state broadcaster and government ministries. -BBC

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