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Sudan’s ruling military general, who mounted a coup nearly a year ago, said he will not run in future elections for a civilian-led government.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan spoke with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.
It marked nearly one year after he mounted a coup that upended the Arabic-speaking African nation’s short-lived transition to democracy after three decades of repressive rule by strongman Omar al-Bashir.
When asked if he would consider running in future elections, Burhan replied: “I don’t think so.” he added: “I do not have a desire to put myself forward (as a candidate) nor do I want to continue in this work.”
Underpinning last year’s coup were tensions that had been building between supporters of military rule and those who support civilian rule with both sides frustrated by the country’s worsening economic conditions.
Sudan has been mired in political turmoil for over three years. Its economy has teetered and inflation was expected to hit a staggering 245% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Since the coup last October, pro-democracy protesters have marched through the streets demanding the general hands over power to civilians.
They’ve denounced Burhan’s takeover, which occurred when the military dissolved the transitional government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok as well as the Sovereign Council, a power-sharing body of military officers and civilians that had been ruling Sudan since late 2019.
Troops have opened fire at protesters, killing some of the marchers and detaining hundreds. While no police or security forces have been convicted in the deaths, Burhan said around five or six are under investigation.
“No one killed protesters in the way that’s being depicted,” he said. “Protesters clashed with police, and the police dealt with them according to the law to protect public property.”
Burhan said that once an elected government is in place, the armed forces would be another institution of that government rather than retain a higher status.