Early on the morning of April 11, 2019, Sudanese dictator and indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir was informed by the heads of his own brutal security agencies that he was no longer the leader of Sudan.
The coup that immediately followed witnessed a number of stunning moments that many Sudanese and outside observers thought would never be seen. Army soldiers began arresting regime officials, troops stormed the Islamic Movement's headquarters, and protesters rightfully began to celebrate that the dictator had finally fallen.
And then the army announced that the protesters demands would not be met. The Sudanese people are once again being denied the transitional civilian government they demanded. Most regime officials remain in power. The coup has essentially moved one group of war criminals out of top regime leadership and replaced them with another batch.
Sudanese Defense Minister Ibn Auf, who is sanctioned by the United States over the Darfur genocide, stated that he would be taking power on behalf of the Supreme Security Committee. He is a powerful regime insider, not a reformer. Because of that reality, he has now also been pushed out of power as protests continue to mount.
His successor Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan was the general inspector of the armed forces. He has also overseen the use of Darfuri child soldiers in Yemen and was an active particpant in the Darfur genocide that the Sudanese regime waged in western Sudan. Like nearly every other regime official, his hands are soaked in blood.
The military's stated plan is for the junta, now chaired by al-Buhran, to run Sudan for two years as part of a transitional process. Considering that much of this bloodthirsty regime remains intact, that promise will most likely not pan out. I certainly hope I am wrong, but al-Buhran's track record and those of the rest of the junta are not promising.
Where We Go From Here
We expect to see protests continue in the coming days and weeks. The palace coup was meant to relieve the tremendous, historic, and mounting public pressure on the regime, but so far the coup plotters have not achieved that goal. At all. Brave and peaceful protesters are refusing to stand down, and it is still unclear how far the regime's new top brass will go to retain their grip on power.
And there are no signs that the recent leadership changes in the regime mean peace and justice will come to the most oppressed and violated regions of Sudan. That includes the Nuba Mountains, where much of our focus as an organization and movement is.
Our commitment as a movement to our Sudanese partners is needed now more than ever before. Sudan is in uncharted territory. The students and teachers at the Endure Primary and Renewal High Schools in Yida Refugee Camp still need our support. The team at Mother of Mercy Hospital is still facing financial headwinds as they serve hundreds of Sudanese in the Nuba Mountains every day. Our mission remains as crystal clear as ever before: empower the Sudanese directly, and then get out of their way.
That is where we go from here. Join me to that end:
The people of Sudan are overcoming two of the greatest challenges facing humanity today: war and genocide. Operation Broken Silence is accelerating their ability to generate lasting change by funding storytelling and movement-building, education and emergency response, and grassroots advocacy programs. Here are a few ways you can join us:
1. Give Monthly To The Education In Yida. The Renewal is our unstoppable family of monthly givers who never stop fighting for change. They give automatically each and every month to the two schools we sponsor in Yida Refugee Camp, providing consistent support to 24 teachers and nearly 1,100 students. Monthly givers who donate $25+ a month also get free tickets to our two annual events! LEARN MORE »
2. Become A Fundraiser. If you can't give monthly right now but have some time to spare, you can start an online fundraising page for the schools in Yida or Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains warzone. BECOME A FUNDRAISER »
3. Give Once. Not ready to commit with a monthly gift or fundraising yet? That's okay, making a one-time gift is the best next step to get your feet wet! GIVE HERE »
Mark began working on Sudan issues in 2007 after an eye-opening conversation with a genocide survivor from Darfur, Sudan. Since 2011 he has overseen the steady growth of our organization.
Mark makes sure our on the ground programs stay on the rails and that our movement remains focused on our end goal of closing our doors one day. He’s one of only a few Americans to have been in frontline areas in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan during the war.