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Sudan’s military say politicians to blame for repeated coup attempts

Commanders Burhan and Hemeti accuse political forces of undermining the military and pushing the country into instability
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (L) and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (R) in Khartoum on 26 September 2020 (AFP)

Sudan's top military leaders Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Dagalo on Wednesday blamed repeated coup attempts on Sudanese politicians, a day after the military said it had foiled plans by associates of the old regime to overthrow the government.

Burhan, army commander and head of the sovereign council, accused Sudan’s political forces of "ignoring the suffering of citizens and focusing on insulting the armed forces".

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"We will not accept being dominated or insulted by any political force whose only preoccupation is to fight for power,” he said in a televised speech. 

On Tuesday morning, Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said they had thwarted an attempted coup involving military officers and civilians linked to the ousted regime of former president Omar al-Bashir. 

“We reiterate that our forces were the ones who foiled the coup attempt," Burhan said, adding that the military has no desire to seize power.

Burhan also criticised an initiative announced by Hamdok in June aimed at unifying the civilian and military factions leading Sudan under a power-sharing administration, as he warned of fractures within both the military and among pro-democracy activists. 

“We have been excluded from the prime minister's initiative and no party can lead the country alone,” he said, adding that there are “those who seek to sow discord in the armed forces".

Burhan stressed that he wants to end the transitional period and establish a civilian state that values the role of the military through elections.

Reports and rumours have been circulating in Sudan about movements to oust civilian leaders led by people linked to Bashir and a deep state within the army.

In his address to the nation, Hamdok said that associates of the deep state from inside and outside the military were involved in attempts to sow insecurity, especially in the east of Sudan, in order to undermine the country's democratic transition. 

However, on Wednesday the powerful paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, widely known as Hemeti, accused politicians of leaving the country exposed to instability in their preoccupation with fighting over the division of power.

"The latest coup attempt was not the first, and we have thwarted a number of other attempts during the transitional period,” he said, also adding that the military has arrested the plotters.