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Sudan coup leader says he will appoint new prime minister within a week

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Sudan coup leader says he will appoint new prime minister within a week

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The Sudanese general who seized power in a coup this week said the army he led would soon appoint a technocratic prime minister to rule alongside him

CAIRO – The Sudanese general who seized power in a coup this week has said that the army he is leading will appoint a technocratic prime minister to rule alongside him in a few days.

In an interview with Russian state-run Sputnik news agency published on Friday, Abdel-Fattah Burhan said the new prime minister would form a cabinet that will share leadership of the country with the armed forces.

On Monday, Burhan dissolved the transitional government and detained Prime Minister Abddalla Hamdok, numerous government officials and political leaders in a coup condemned by the United States and the West. The army allowed Hamdok to return home under guard the next day after international pressure. At least nine people have been killed in anti-coup protests since then.

The generals have yet to produce a list of candidates for prime minister, Burhan said. The decision to appoint a prime minister is in line with previous promises by the generals to install a new, non-partisan technocratic cabinet. It is still not clear what degree of power the new government will have.

The military takeover came after weeks of growing tensions between military and civilian leaders during and at the pace of Sudan’s transition to democracy. He threatened to derail this process, which has progressed in spurts since the overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising two years ago.

Burhan said the military was forced to take over due to feuds between political parties which he said could lead to a civil war. However, the coup also comes just weeks before Burhan had to cede leadership of the Sovereign Council, the ultimate decision-maker in Sudan, to a civilian. This would have significantly reduced the influence of the armed forces in the country.

The coup sparked a storm of street protests demanding the restoration of civilian government. At least nine people were killed by gunfire from security forces, according to the Committee of Sudanese Doctors and Activists. At least 170 others injured, according to the UN, pro-democracy activist groups on Saturday called for marches of “millions of people” to end the coup.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Sudanese military forces to “exercise restraint” and refrain from actions that would claim more casualties. Speaking to reporters in Rome on Friday on the eve of a G-20 summit, Guterres reiterated his “strong condemnation” of the coup and stressed the need to restore the process of transition to democratic rule in this East African country.

Meanwhile, Washington continued to call on Burhan to reestablish the country’s ousted government. A senior US official also told reporters on Friday that Saturday’s mass protests would be “a test” for the country and that the military “hijacked and betrayed the aspirations of the Sudanese people.”

Burhan said earlier this week that he had taken over as head of a military council that will rule Sudan until the July 2023 elections.

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Associated Press writer Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.

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