Sudan’s first post-Bashir cabinet sworn in

Sudan's new cabinet is sworn in at the presidential palace in Khartoum. (Getty Images)
Updated 08 September 2019

Sudan’s first post-Bashir cabinet sworn in

  • The 18-member Cabinet took oath at the presidential palace in Khartoum
  • The Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, includes four women

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s first cabinet since the ouster of president Omar Al-Bashir was sworn in Sunday as the African country transitions to a civilian rule following nationwide protests that overthrew the autocrat.
The 18-member cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, which includes four women, took oath at the presidential palace in Khartoum, an AFP correspondent reported.
It is expected to steer the daily affairs of the country during a transition period of 39 months.
The line-up was formed after Sudan last month swore in a “sovereign council” — a joint civilian-military ruling body that aims to oversee the transition.
The 18 ministers were seen greeting members of the sovereign council, including its chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, in images broadcast by state television from the palace.
“We have to put in a lot of efforts to meet our people’s demands,” Information Minister Faisal Mohamed Saleh told reporters after the swearing in ceremony.
“The world is watching us. It is waiting to see how we can solve our issues.”
The sovereign council itself is the result of a power-sharing deal between the protesters and generals who had seized power after the army ousted Bashir in April.
Hamdok’s cabinet, which has the country’s first female foreign affairs minister, is expected to lead Sudan through formidable challenges that also include ending internal conflicts in three regions.
Rebel groups from marginalized regions of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states had waged long wars against Bashir’s forces.
“The road ahead is not easy. We will face many challenges but we have to work on them,” said Walaa Issam, Minister for youth and sports.
Sudan’s power-sharing deal aims to forge peace with armed groups.
Hamdok’s cabinet will also be expected to fight corruption and dismantle the long-entrenched Islamist deep state created under Bashir.
Bashir had seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989 and ruled Sudan with an iron fist for three decades until his ouster.
It was a worsening economic crisis that triggered the fall of Bashir, who is now on trial on charges of illegal acquisition and use of foreign funds.
According to doctors linked to the umbrella protest movement that led to Bashir’s fall, more than 250 people have been killed in protest-related violence since December.
Of that at least 127 were killed in early June during a brutal crackdown on a weeks-long protest sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. Officials have given a lower death toll.


Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

Updated 14 November 2019

Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

DHAKA: One hundred and seventy-one Bangladeshi migrants are waiting to be repatriated from two detention centers in Libya after being rescued from the Mediterranean coast on Oct. 30 as they tried to make their way into Europe, officials told Arab News on Wednesday. 

In all, 200 migrants were rescued during the operation.

“The registration process of all the Bangladeshi migrants has been completed and we are expecting to start the repatriation by the end of November,” ASM Ashraful Islam, councilor at the Bangladesh embassy in Libya, said.

He added that, due to the ongoing war in Libya, airports in Tripoli remain non-operational. The Bangladeshi migrants will fly from Misrata airport, 300 kilometers away.

“There are frequent incidents of bombardment and long-range missile strikes (at Tripoli airport),” Islam explained. He said no international airline was currently willing to fly from Libya to Bangladesh, so the embassy intends to charter a flight to repatriate the migrants.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will bear the expenses for the rescued Bangladeshis, who are currently being held at detention centers in Zanzur and Abu Salim, he said, adding, “Bangladesh mission staffers in Tripoli are in constant touch with the returnees and providing necessary food and other assistance for them.”

In recent years, human traffickers have used Libya as a gateway through which to send illegal migrants to Italy and other European countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency — Frontex — around 30,000 Bangladeshi migrants have been arrested while trying to enter Europe in the last decade. The organization said that, in recent years, Bangladesh is one of the countries from which the most illegal migrants have tried to enter Europe. The IOM has facilitated the repatriation of Bangladeshi citizens from Libya in the past — 924 in 2017, 307 in 2016, and 521 in 2015.

“Among unemployed Bangladeshi fortune seekers, there is a (desire) to migrate to Europe by any means, and human-trafficking syndicates at home and abroad (have grabbed) this opportunity,” Shariful Hasan, head of the migration program at the Bangladesh-based development organization BRAC, told Arab News. “There needs to be an integrated effort by all concerned countries, with the support of Interpol, to curb this human trafficking.”