Sudan. According to
countryaah, the current population of Sudan is 43,849,271. Sudan and its president Omar al-Bashir continued
to be involved in a power struggle with the International
Criminal Court (ICC).
Despite an international arrest warrant issued by the ICC
against al-Bashir for suspected war crimes and other crimes
in Darfur, he continued to travel extensively. For example,
he attended a summit of the African Union (AU) in Rwanda.
ICC's Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated in June that she
lacked support to pursue the case.
Sudan, which is affiliated with Saudi Arabia, broke
diplomatic relations with Iran in January. The country has
already contributed soldiers to the coalition that Saudi
Arabia is leading against Iran-backed Shiite rebels in
In January, it was announced that the border with South
Sudan would be opened again. The countries negotiated
without much success on lowering transit fees that Sudan
charges on oil from South Sudan. Overall, the Sudanese
economy showed few signs of clearing. Protests took place in
Khartoum and other cities in November against lower
subsidies on gasoline, which increased the price by 30%.
There was a shortage of various goods, partly as a result of
import restrictions to safeguard the scarce foreign exchange
reserve. Inflation was 19.6% in October. Several newspapers
and a TV station reporting on protests were closed.
The situation in the Darfur region remained worrying. In
March, more than 100,000 people were on the run after
escalated fighting between government forces and the SLMAW
rebel group. Despite this, a referendum on Darfur's status
was held April 11-13. Over 97% voted to retain the five
states that make up the region. The opposition and rebel
groups such as SLM-AW and JEM (the Movement for Justice and
Equality) boycotted the vote. Sudan refuted data from the
human rights group Amnesty International that chemical
weapons were used in Darfur. The UN called on Sudan to
cooperate in an investigation. In June, the UN Security
Council extended the mandate of the AU and UN Joint Force
UNAMID in Darfur, despite Sudan's protests.
Struggles were also fought in the provinces of the Blue
Nile and South Kurdufan against the rebel movement
SPLM-North (Sudanese people's liberation movement). The
government announced a unilateral ceasefire in June and
several rounds of talks were held with SPLM-North without
In March, however, Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, who
turned 84 years old. As leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, he
was one of the forces behind the 1989 coup that brought
al-Bashir to power. The two broke later, and al-Turabi was
occasionally jailed or in house arrest.
Military junta, demonstrations and negotiations
While the protesters demanded the release of the
political prisoners and regime change, and the military
transitional government hit hard on them (16 people were
killed on April 13, causing Salah Gosj to retire as security
and intelligence chief), al-Bashir was deployed prison on
On May 13, prosecutors accused al-Bashir of calling for
the killing of protesters. The following day, another five
were killed in Khartoum's streets, although the protest
movement had begun talks with the military junta. On May 15,
a three-year transition period for a civilian board was
Meanwhile, the junta asked for international support it
received from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt
and Russia. At the same time, the demonstrations continued
in Khartoum and other cities in Sudan. With both sides
putting pressure on their opponents (namely the military
junta demanding the end of the demonstrations, and the
protesters seeking faster transition to civilian rule), it
didn't take long before the conflict situation escalated: on
June 3, dozens of protesters were killed, the corpses were
threw in the Nile and found a few days afterwards.
On June 5, the United States, the United Kingdom and
Norway asked the junta to negotiate with the opposition,
supporters of a transitional government also called for the
resumption of talks, and while the UN brought staff out of
the country (June 5), and the AU blocked out Sudan (June 6),
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to Khartoum to
mediate (June 7). His mediation was one of the reasons why
he was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
Demonstrations, violence and killings continued, however,
and it was the turn of the United States to send diplomats
to mediation (June 12).
On June 13, al-Bashir was indicted for corruption and on
June 14, the military council admitted "wrong" to the
protesters. Nevertheless, the junta rejected proposals for a
civil transitional government (outlined by the Ethiopian
broker) and unrest started again. After 128 people were
killed, the protest movement and the military council came
together for new talks on July 3. On July 5, the two parties
agreed to share power until elections have been held in the
As protests continued, the junta announced that they were
likely to halt military coup attempts on July 11 and 24.
Port bans in El-Obeid (July 29) and closure of schools
nationwide (July 30) mark the final phase of the conflict
before a new agreement on August 3 on a constitutional
declaration that will set the framework for the division of
power over the next three years.
Agreement on civil transitional government
On August 17, the agreement was signed in a peaceful and
festive ceremony marked by the UN and celebration in
Khartoum and other cities. On August 19, the trial began
against al-Bashir for corruption. The day after Sudan's
sovereignty council appointed Abdalla Hamdok as prime
minister, he was sworn in on 21 August. He cannot
participate in the General Election, which will take place
in 2022, which should end the stormy transition period that
Sudan has been in since February 2019. Al-Bashir was
convicted of corruption on December 19, 2019 and will serve
two years in prison.