Sudan cracks down on dissolved National Congress Party after violent protests

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A committee tasked with dismantling the government of toppled former president Omar al-Bashir has issued a wide-ranging order to prosecute members of Sudan’s ex-ruling party following days of violent protests across the country.

Posted early on Thursday, the decree directed state governors to take action through the public prosecutor against “all leaders of the dissolved National Congress Party, and its active cadres and the leaders of its facades”.

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Military generals ousted hardline Islamist Bashir in April 2019 and now rule in a fragile transitional arrangement with political parties that were part of the uprising against him.

Over the past few days, protests by Bashir-era loyalists have taken a violent turn in major cities across Sudan, with government buildings and vehicles set on fire and property pillaged.

Markets were looted in several cities, and a spokesman for the committee described the situation as an “economic war” against Hamdok’s government, which has struggled with price hikes and fuel and bread shortages.

While the NCP was formally dissolved after the coup, former Bashir supporters have led unrest in Khartoum and other cities, and the transitional period has seen reported coup plots and a botched assassination attempt on Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

On Thursday the public prosecution issued an order for the arrest of eight men including well-known Bashir allies suspected to have gone into hiding.

Hamdok on Wednesday swore in a new cabinet and formed a working group of ministers to monitor the aftermath of the protests.

The committee tasked with dismantling Bashir’s repressive ruling apparatus said it had received information about activities by former NCP members “to organize arson and looting and terrorize unarmed citizens”.

Governors of several states said the protests were distinct from other, peaceful demonstrations held in protest against a worsening economic crisis.

“It was not isolated, nor was it a sudden act or reaction, but rather an arranged and politically planned action by the former regime,” said North Darfur Governor Mohamed Hassan al-Arabi.

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