Sudanese protesters (281185)
Credit: Wikipedia

Social media profiles have turned blue to stand in solidarity with and bring awareness to the civil crisis in Sudan. Sources report that the East African nation is under severe attack since the removal of the former president, Omar al Bashir, from office.

Locals in Sudan are worried about the state in which the country is in, especially because military force is being used on civilians. “People are barricading the streets to make sure that the janjaweed [militia] doesn’t enter their neighborhoods,” says Bayan Bubakr, an NYU college graduate from Sudan. “But they have weapons gifted to them by the UAE and Saudi Arabia. There’s not much we can do to stay safe besides stay in our homes.”

The situation has been made worse by outside anti-democracy agitators, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who had allegedly attempted to keep president al Bashir in power. Reports state that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman promised $3 billion in aid to the Sudanese military leaders. According to Tisdal, the UAE crown prince, bin Zayed promised to “preserve Sudan’s security and stability.” Al Sisi appears to be playing for both teams in the struggle because of Egypt’s interest in the Nile river, reports Tisdal. Egypt chairs the AU which had initially set a 15-day deadline for the Sudanese military to hand over power. This deadline has been extended to three months post al-Sisi’s intervention.

Bubakr also shared that “this revolution was in the making for a long time. A lot of the issues facing the Sudanese people today are a result of colonialism and its lasting effects.”

Foreign nations are still involved in the politics of the country as “the U.S. has sent envoys to negotiate between the TMC and activists, and the Ethiopian PM was here last week to facilitate dialogue,” she continued. “The AU’s suspension of Sudan was meant to delegitimize the TMC’s perceived position as Sudan’s sovereign governing body. They did the same thing with Egypt in 2013, following the Rabaa Massacre, but el-Sisi (and the army) still managed to take control of the country. I can’t say how helpful this move will be.”

National presiding minister of The House of the Lord Churches the Rev. Herbert Daughtry articulated that the AU must have had good reasons to suspend Sudan. However, he believes that AU could have provided assistance and force to the nation. “I think the AU should not have suspended Sudan. Instead, it would be more helpful if they intervened and assisted the people. Instead of kicking them out, the AU should try to persuade the military forces to stop what they’re doing. We can’t wait for a civil war to break out.” Daughtry has been previously involved in activism against al Bashir in Darfur.

“I celebrated when Omar al Bashir was removed from office and arrested because to me that signified a new beginning for Sudan,” confessed Victoria Deng, a South Sudanese student who now lives in the U.S. “I now understand that his regime lives on even in his absence from the political arena. I’ve read horrifying articles about the military’s suppression of protesters, secret detentions centers in Khartoum, mass slaughter and rape of innocent civilians under the ‘transitional government’ if we can call it that. These atrocities remind me of those that were committed in South Sudan (the birthplace of my parents).” She urged the people of Sudan to regain their strength because the revolution is just starting. “Taking down a dictator was only just the beginning of the struggle,” she said.

Supporters of the protestors in Kenya held a solidarity vigil June 13. Sources say police threw tear gas at the supporters of the civil movement.

As the universal push for human rights continues to be a plaguing issue for some countries, Sudan finds itself in yet another humanitarian crisis. After years of civil war and a failed government by a dictator, Sudanese people are in a fight to take back the land that belongs to them. A civilian revolution is happening right now in the country and the global stage is watching what happens next.

After Omar al Bashir was ousted from his presidential throne after having a term of nearly 30 years, members of his administration still remained in government. His nearly three decade term was one of the most inhumane administrations in modern history. He became the leader of Sudan after a military coup ravished the country in 1989. Since then, he has become well known for his involvement in the Darfur genocide. Considered a 21st century genocide, it is a conflict that has displaced nearly 3 million people and killed some 300,000.

“What’s been happening in Sudan is far from a humanitarian crisis. It’s a global crisis,” said Daughtry. Daughtry has done humanitarian and activist work in Sudan during its Darfur conflict. Daughtry along with others were some of the people who helped at displacement camps for families in Chad. Not only does he understand the conflict, but he’s seen the reality of what a civil war can do in a country.

“There were major crimes against humanity committed by al-Bashir and his regime,” said Daughtry. “They displaced millions of women and children. The effects of what happened years ago can still be seen to this day.”

Currently, the Sudanese military has vowed to rule over the country for the next two years until the next presidential election. Sudanese citizens feel differently and do not have trust in the military people to lead them for the next two years. With civilian uprisings and protests happening everyday, it’ll be interesting to see what will be of Sudan in the upcoming months.

Timeline of Events

Here’s what activists say people need to know about the current situation in Sudan:

Thirty years of violent oppression, conflict and economic hardship under the al Bashir regime have left the country in total ruin.

December 2018

The Sudanese people rallied to put an end to the absolute power.

A peaceful revolution began with anti-government demonstration across the country.

The peaceful protests were met with violent crackdowns and dozens of civilians were killed.

February 2019

Pres. al Bashir declared a state of emergency and banned all unauthorized gatherings. He authorized security forces to use all means necessary to put a stop to the peaceful protests.

April 2019

The people of Sudan staged the largest sit-in in Sudanese history outside the Armed Forces headquarters.

During the government attempts to clear the sit-ins, there were multiple injuries and dozens killed.

The Sudanese military declare al Bashir and other high ranking government officials in criminal custody.

Transitional Military Council is formed, led by General Awad Ibn Ouf, and announces plans for the military to rule for a two-year transitional period until elections are held. This was against the civilians’ demands for civilian rule.

General Abdelfattah Burhan replaced Ibn Ouf after public pressure forced him to step down.

Coalition of Freedom and Change, and TMC begin negotiations. Delays and tactic stalling by TMC, in addition to state violence against peaceful protestors, hindered negotiation process.

May 2019

Two-day nationwide strike begins, designed to pressure the TMC into handing over power to civilian-led authority.

June 2019

Rapid Support Forces, also known as Janjaweed, attacked civilians in Khartoum using guns, physical and sexual assault, and dispersed the sit-in.

The internet is shut down causing a media blackout.

More than 100 civilians are killed.

Over 650 casualties.

At least 40 bodies found dumped in the nile river.

Missing people.

The AU has suspended Sudan’s membership, awaiting the full shift of power to civilian authority.

The Sudanese Professionals Association called for a nationwide act of civil disobedience from June 9.