Sudanese army leaders return ousted prime minister and say political prisoners will be released

Sudan’s ousted prime minister signed an agreement with the army on Sunday to reinstate him, nearly a month after a military coup put him under house arrest. According to the agreement, the army will also release government officials and politicians detained since the October 25 coup.

General Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, the country’s supreme leader, said in televised statements that Abdallah Hamdok will head an independent technocratic government so that elections can be held. It remains unclear how much power the government will have. It will remain under military supervision.

It also remains unclear whether all political parties and pro-democracy groups have signed the agreement.

The coup, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government, drew international criticism.

Sudanese have taken to the streets since the military seized power, upending the country’s fragile transition to democracy. The agreement comes just days after doctors announced that at least 15 people were killed by live fire during anti-coup demonstrations.

The deal also provided for an investigation to identify those responsible for the killing and wounding of civilians and military personnel who distorted the protests that followed the coup.

“By signing this declaration, we can lay a real foundation for the transitional phase,” Al-Burhan said.

The 14-article agreement also stressed the need to hand over power to an elected civilian government after the end of the transitional period.

Careful reception to deal

Earlier, the Forces for Freedom and Change, the group that led the uprising that culminated in the overthrow of Bashir, had objected to any deals with the military.

The group, in a statement, renewed its opposition to any new political partnership with the army, and insisted on the need to bring the perpetrators of the coup to justice.

“We are not interested in any agreements with this brutal military council, and we are using all peaceful and creative means to bring it down,” the statement said.

The Umma Party, the largest political party said to be included in the agreement, issued a statement indicating that it had not signed it.

A Sudanese demonstrator raises the national flag during a demonstration on a street in the capital, Khartoum, on Sunday. Thousands took to the streets again to denounce last month’s military coup and demand that power be transferred immediately to civilians. (AFP/Getty Images)

Thousands took to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, on Sunday, ahead of the signing ceremony, to denounce the coup and demand the immediate transfer of power to civilians. The demonstrators waved the Sudanese flag and chanted “Strength to the people! The army will remain in the barracks.”

Also earlier, military and government officials, who spoke of the deal on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, said the United Nations, the United States and others played “critical roles” in drafting the agreement.

The United States, its allies, and the United Nations condemned the excessive use of force against anti-coup protesters.

Hamdok thanked Sudan’s “regional and global friends” who helped reach the agreement, but did not name the countries.

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