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Sudan faces growing political unrest

Last week’s attempt to suggest reforms to the National Congress Party failed to make headway

Gulf News

Sudan faces increasingly open unrest as President Omar Al Bashir’s long tenure as president becomes an issue. Last week, the Sudanese government arrested at least 13 senior officials, including a senior military official, Mohammad Ebrahim, who is considered a hero by the Islamist youth for his military operations and leadership against South Sudan and several of the ethnic rebel groups which are in action all over Sudan.

The arrests halted a possible coup, but will not stop the growing unrest as the government faces armed resistance from ethnic groups all over the country, as well as increasingly well-articulated resentment of government repression. These issues have been made worse by interrupted supplies of oil from South Sudan to the oil terminals in Sudan, which has wrecked the sales revenues to both countries, taking the Sudanese pound to an all-time low. Fighting has been continual for the last year, as the final border demarcation between the two states was confused, leaving the oil fields at Heglig in Sudan despite South Sudan’s claims on the territory.

The trigger for last week’s trouble was a conference held by an organisation called the Islamic Movement which was supposed to suggest changes to the ruling National Congress Party. But Al Bashir’s allies headed this off and the Islamic Movement ended up under Al Bashir’s control. Frustration created by this crackdown has meant that some senior political figures are now discussing how to change the status quo.