A coup attempt led by members of the Popular Defence Forces was foiled in Sudan last week.
Rabat – As Sudan’s diplomatic core negotiated its recent deal with the US, several retired military veterans attempted a coup, according to several reports.
Under the leadership of retired Brigadier General Mohammed Ibrahim Abdul-Jalil, several former members of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) plotted a coup attempt. Jalil and other retired officers involved in the plot are members of the now-disbanded PDF, a military unit of former President Omar al-Bashir.
Silence from government
The government of Sudan has so far not announced the coup attempt. Newspapers in Sudan on Tuesday made no mention of the foiled plot. Yet Somali publication The Warsan and UK-based Middle East Monitor published statements of a yet unpublished Anadolu report. They quote an anonymous military officer who pointed to Jalil, locally known as Wad Ibrahim, as the leader of the coup attempt in Sudan.
Sudanese authorities are likely to want to keep the problematic development quiet as they await US approval for the lifting of sanctions. These sanctions are associated with Sudan’s designation on the US list of states sponsoring terrorism. Sudan has been on the list since 1993 and has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to lift the designation.
The anonymous officer quoted in reports expressed confidence in Sudan’s military forces’ preparedness, in contrast to the coup plotters’ premature and incomplete plans. He stated that such a “proxy coup” had not succeeded because of the absence of “sufficient equipment.”
“The army will not allow any coup attempt, and we know the parties who planned this coup to achieve their goals,” he stated, according to the publications quoting him. The officer claimed that even if the coup in Sudan had succeeded, the international community would not recognize the PDF members as the country’s new leaders.
“The planners and executors of the plot would be boycotted by neighboring states,” he told Anadolu.
If the coup did take place as initial reporting suggests, it would be the first coup attempt since the fall of Omar al-Bashir. The overthrow of Bashir’s regime was also a military coup d’etat in practice, when the military intervened following the emergence of a national protest movement that received global attention.
According to the published statements, the coup involved veterans of the 2011 civil war who had fought in Blue Nile, Darfur, and South Kordofan. The veterans’ now-defunct paramilitary force, the PDF, was closely tied to the al-Bashir regime and its oppression and crimes against humanity.
Members of the PDF are seen as al-Bashir loyalists, leading to the unit’s disbandment after Sudan’s 2019 overthrow of the former dictator.
With Omar al-Bashir now facing prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), last week’s foiled plot could have been a last-ditch desperate attempt by his former supporters.
The global community’s top court aims to prosecute Bashir in a trial in Sudan with a concurrent hybrid tribunal, likely in The Hague, according to the court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
“They must all face justice without further delay,” Bensouda said. The ICC has issued arrest warrants for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity for Bashir and three others.