Sudan army chief orders release of four ministers: TV
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Sudan army chief orders release of four ministers: TV

Sudan’s General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Thursday ordered the release of four ministers detained since he led a military power grab last week, state-run television said.

The releases came as the army said the formation of a new government was “imminent”.

“The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has ordered the release of Hashem Hassab Alrasoul, Ali Geddo, Hamza Baloul, Youssef Adam,” Sudan TV said.

Alrasoul is telecommunications minister, Geddo heads the trade ministry, Baloul is information minister, and Adam holds the youth and sports portfolio.

Burhan — Sudan’s de facto leader since the 2019 ouster of autocratic president Omar al-Bashir — last week dissolved the government, detained the civilian leadership and declared a state of emergency.

Sudan’s army said earlier Thursday that a new government was on the way.

“We are considering all internal and external initiatives to serve the national interest,” Burhan’s media advisor Taher Abouhaga said. “The government formation is imminent.”

The ministers’ release came shortly after a phone call between Burhan and UN chief Antonio Guterres, who personally appealed to the military chief to restore the democratic transition.

Guterres encouraged “all efforts toward resolving the political crisis in Sudan and urgently restoring the constitutional order and Sudan’s transitional process”, a United Nations statement said.

Sudan has since August 2019 been ruled by a joint civilian-military council as part of the now derailed transition to full civilian rule.

Deepening splits and long-simmering tensions between the military and civilians have marred the transition.

Western diplomats have called for Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s reinstatement, while Arab powerhouses such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE urged the civilian-led transition be restored.

Burhan, a veteran general who served under Bashir’s three-decades-long rule, insisted the army takeover was “not a coup” but a move “to rectify the course of the transition”.

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