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AU, World Bank Suspend Sudan over Military Coup

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The African Union said on Wednesday it has suspended Sudan until civilian rule in the country is restored, saying it rejected the military takeover, describing it as an “unconstitutional” seizure of power.

The continent-wide bloc said it “strongly condemns the seizure of power” and was suspending Sudan from all AU activities “until the effective restoration of the civilian-led transitional authority”.

The World Bank also decided to suspend aid to Sudan.

Sudanese General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Monday ordered the dissolution of the government and declared a state of emergency, sparking widespread international condemnation.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was placed under military arrest, along with his ministers and civilian members of Sudan’s ruling council, sparking angry protests on the streets of Khartoum.

Mr Hamdok was later released under close guard, but other ministers and civilian leaders remain in detention.

Security forces launched sweeping arrests of anti-coup protesters Wednesday, in a bid to end three days of demonstrations against the power grab.

A number of Western powers have called for an urgent meeting with Mr Hamdok, saying they still recognise the Prime Minister and his cabinet as the constitutional leaders of Sudan.

The AU suspended Sudan in June 2019 after pro-democracy protesters demanding civilian rule were gunned down outside army headquarters in Khartoum.

Their membership was reinstated three months later after Mr Hamdok announced the appointment of Sudan’s first cabinet since the ousting of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir.

On the World Bank part, the Group President, Mr David Malpass said, “I am greatly concerned by recent events in Sudan, and I fear the dramatic impact this can have on the country’s social and economic recovery and development.

“In recent weeks, I visited Khartoum to meet with Sudanese authorities, including Prime Minister Hamdok and Chairman al-Burhan and discussed the country’s economic and social transformation.

“I heard a clear commitment of all parties to work together toward a more prosperous future for the Sudanese people following 30 years of authoritarian rule and disengagement from the international community.

“The World Bank Group has been a close partner of Sudan, working alongside other development partners to establish the Sudan Family Support Program and support the country’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

“Sudan was embarking on an ambitious package of economic reforms, which paved the way for the country’s arrears clearance as it became eligible for debt relief under the HIPC initiative.

“The World Bank Group paused disbursements in all of its operations in Sudan on Monday and it has stopped processing any new operations as we closely monitor and assess the situation.

“We hope that peace and the integrity of the transition process will be restored so that Sudan can restart its path of economic development and can take its rightful place in the international financial community.”

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