Sudanese PM escapes assassination attempt

Following the assassination attempt, leaders of the Sudanese revolution called on their supporters to take to streets in a show of unity and cohesion, and to “protect the transitional authority”

March 09, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Sudanese rescue teams and security forces gather next to a damaged vehicle at the site of an assassination attempt against Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP

Sudan’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, escaped an assassination attempt on the morning of March 9, Monday. His convoy, which was on the way to the PM’s office, was hit by an explosion at the north-eastern entrance to Kober bridge connecting Khartoum North to the capital city’s center.

Footage from the site of the attack broadcasted on regional news channels and shared on social media show two white SUV’s – the kind used by senior government officials – damaged in the blast. SUNA, the official State news channel, carried images of two other vehicles severely damaged in the blast.

According to Faisal Saleh, the information minister and spokesperson of the transitional government, both explosives and firearms were used in the attack, which left a security officer lightly injured.

In a brief statement he gave to state news agency SUNA, he said “The Prime Minister himself came out unhurt, the guards of the convoy were also unhurt, save one member of the motorcade who sustained a minor injury on the shoulder as his motorcycle overturned.”

“The PM is currently in his office conducting his business as usual,” he added. “We are aware that there are persons who target the Sudanese people’s revolution and its gains; those gains were achieved as a result of struggle and sacrifices. However, we would also like to underline that the resolve of the people will prevail. The unity of the forces for change is the sole guarantee for the continuation of the revolution. This resolve will frustrate any set back attempts,” he said

Stating that he was “safe and in good shape,” the prime minister said in a statement, “Rest assured that what happened today will not stand in the way of our transition, instead it is an additional push to the wheel of change in Sudan.”

A former economist, Hamdook was appointed as the prime minister of the transitional government in August 2019. Prior to this, the Sudanese revolution, which began in December 2018, toppled the Islamist dictator Omar al-Bashir, and subsequently forced the military junta which had then assumed power to make way for a joint-transitional government.

During the three years of transitional period, this government is tasked with ending civil wars in the country, re-organizing the economy and reorienting its foreign policy according to the interests of masses rather than the entrenched military elite which continues to yield power in the transitional government.

By reversing some of regressive laws which restricted the freedom of women, Hamdok had won the appreciation of the progressive sections of the society, while invoking the wrath of Islamist extremists.

Similarly, he agreed to hand over al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stand trial for genocide. This decision had angered the military generals who share equal power with the civilians in the sovereignty council.

Hamdok was chosen for the prime minister by the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), a coalition of left and centrist political parties which had come together to represent the pro-democracy protest movement.

Deeming the assasination attempt a “terrorist attack,” the DFCF called upon supporters of the protest movement to take to streets in a show of “our unity and cohesion,” and to “protect the transitional authority.”

“With our blood and soul, we redeem you, Hamdok,” chanted dozens of supporters who assembled at the site of the attack.