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Sudan’s Military Showed Restraint During Anti-Coup Protests, US Special Envoy Says


Protesters carry a banner and national flags as they march against the Sudanese military's recent seizure of power and ousting of the civilian government, in the streets of the capital Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 30, 2021.

A U.S. envoy said Tuesday the Sudanese military exercised restraint during Saturday’s anti-military coup demonstrations and that the restraint raised the possibility of the country’s return to a power sharing agreement.

Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, made the assessment during a telephone briefing with reporters from Washington, despite the Sudanese military’s fatal shootings of three protestors.

He said the death toll was “far too many” but added “by and large ... security services exercised restraint and upheld their obligations to respect human rights.” He noted the death toll was not higher because demonstrators did not approach sensitive military locations.

“You saw the evidence … of the Sudanese understanding that they need to get themselves out of this crisis by the conduct of the demonstrations,” Feltman said.

“I think that demonstrated an understanding by the Sudanese people themselves that they have to be careful and find a way back to the civilian-military partnership this transition requires,” Feltman said.

The U.S urged the military leaders of Sudan’s Oct. 25 coup to refrain from “any and all violence” against peaceful protesters one day before their “march of millions” demonstrations demanding a return to civilian rule.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said security forces fatally shot three protesters in the city of Omdurman and that 38 people were injured, some by gunfire.

Sudanese military chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan said the army’s overthrow of the country’s transitional government was necessary to avoid a civil war.

Feltman again urged the general to restore the civilian government and release Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok from house arrest, contending the military cannot maintain power without foreign assistance such as the $700 million the U.S. has suspended.

“I think that the military will recognize that they need the type of international support that was being given to the transitional authorities,” Feltman said.

The military takeover occurred weeks of escalating tensions between military and civilian leaders over Sudan’s transition to democracy. The coup threatened to derail the process, which had slowly progressed since the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising in 2019.

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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