Sudan’s army chief on Thursday ordered the release of four civilian ministers detained since he led a military coup last month, as international pressure mounted to restore the democratic transition.
The move by General Abdel Fattah al- Burhan came as the army said the formation of a new government was “imminent.”
Burhan Sudan de facto leader since 2019 ouster of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir last week discovered the government, detained the civilian leadership, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and declared a state of emergency.
“We are considering all internal and external initiatives to serve the national interest,” Burhan media advisor Taher Abouhafa said. “The gover4nment formation is imminent.”
Hours later, Sudan TV said Burhan had ordered the release of four officials: Hashem Hassabalrasoul, Aliu Geddo, Hamza Baloul, and Youssef Adam.
Hassabalrasoul is the telecommunications minister, Gedoo heads the trade ministry, Baloul is the information minister and Adam holds the youth and sports portfolio.
It was not immediately clear when the ministers will be released.
The decision came shortly after a phone call between Burhan and UN head Antoio Guterres, who personally appealed to the military chief to restore the democratic transition.
Gueterrs encouraged “all efforts towards resolving the political crisis in Sudan and urgently restoring the constitutional order and Sudan’s transitional process,” a United Nations statement said.
Later Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Bliken spoke with Burhan as well, calling for the “immediate restoration of the civilian-led government” and the release of all political figures detained since the coup, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Bliken also spoke with Hamdo, reiterating the ‘strong support of the United States from the Sudanese people who seek democracy,” according to a separate statement from Price.