Khartoum, 6 June 2019; Sudan has been suspended from the African Union (AU) amid growing fears that split among the ruling military regime could lead to civil war and anarchy.
The decision by the union – which has 54 other member states – will significantly increase pressure on the country’s new military rulers, raising the prospect of diplomatic isolation on the continent and sanctions if they do not hand over power to a civilian-led authority to allow an “exit from the current crisis”.
In a strongly worded statement, the AU said it deplored the loss of innocent lives in recent days in Sudan and called for the military and security forces to ensure the full protection of civilians and respect for human rights and freedoms.
The AU’s decision was prompted by the deaths on Monday of more than 120 people when paramilitaries attacked a protest camp in the center of Khartoum. Many hundreds were injured.
There is increasing anxiety among observers that the crisis will exacerbate divisions within Sudan’s security establishment, raising the prospect of armed factions battling for power.
The AU had set repeated deadlines in a bid to force concessions from the transitional military council (TMC), which seized power when the dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April after months of mass protests.
Negotiations between the military and protest leaders broke down due to disagreements over whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or a military figure.