Sudan timeline January - March 2022: Political turmoil, lawlessness as attempts to revive democratic transition collapse
The first days of 2022 saw the final collapse of the already tenuous political agreement that reinstated Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok after a period of house arrest following the military coup d’état of October 25 last year.
On January 2, PM Hamdok announced his resignation in a televised address to the Sudanese people. He underlined that he was unable to combine all the components of the transition to reach a unified vision, describing the crisis in the country as political, but it gradually, includes all aspects of economic and social life.
His resignation came amid ongoing reports of Sudanese security forces violently suppressing waves of the Marches of the Millions, that saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets across the country to express their rejection of the military coup.
In the subsequent vacuum and chaos, lawlessness and insecurity increased, especially in Darfur and Kordofan, fuelled by marauding gangs of armed bandits made up of former combatants and militiamen. Stores and compounds of international peacekeeping and relief organisations were raided, looted, and often levelled.
The international community, largely via the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), initiated the facilitation of dialogue between the various actors in Sudan, in an attempt to solve the political impasse.
Protests against the military junta continued throughout February, as did their violent and deadly suppression by Sudanese forces. Looting of international and NGO resources continued in Darfur, amid rising concerns about food security as an effect of the political turmoil and rising food prices.
By March, the Sudanese Pound was in freefall against international currencies. Suppression of popular pro-democracy protests was the norm, and hundreds were detained, including activists and opposition politicians.
Violence claimed hundreds of lives and displaced thousands of people in Darfur and Kordofan, as armed groups scourged the region despite a joint force being deployed to counter them.
Sudan timeline, January - March 2022
January: Security forces continue suppressing protesters of the military coup d’état on October 25 last year. Prime minister Abdallah Hamdok resigns. The UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) will facilitate an intra-Sudanese dialogue in an attempt to resolve the current political impasse. Lawlessness and impunity in Darfur and South Kordofan continue.
January 3: The resignation of Hamdok sparks widespread reactions at local, regional, and international levels. Two North Darfur committees will investigate the looting at the warehouses of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the former United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in El Fasher.
January 4: Sudanese protesters take to the street again despite the excessive force used against them. The Sudan Troika and the European Union (EU) will not support a unilaterally appointed Sudanese government.
January 5: Large numbers of heavily armed militants are gathering again north-east of the West Darfur capital.
January 6: US and UN representatives to meet with Sudan’s leaders ‘to prevent the country descending into chaos’. Three protesters are killed in Khartoum as Marches of the Millions against the coup sweep the country again. Sudan university directors form a committee ‘to end the political stalemate’. A joint military-rebel security force is to be trained in North Darfur.
January 7: Robbers use Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) to scare civilians in Abu Jubeiha, South Kordofan.
January 8: UNITAMS is to facilitate an ‘intra-Sudanese political process‘ with the aim to regenerate the country’s democratic transition following the coup of October 25. In North Darfur, a woman is gang-raped and nine others are injured by gunmen.
January 9: At least 62 demonstrators have been killed since the 25 October coup d’état. Opposition parties are divided over the initiative of UNITAMS. Farmers and activists in Northern State block the highway to the Egyptian border in protest against the latest increase in electricity tariffs and the military coup.
January 10: Two more protesters are killed and 96 others are injured in Khartoum demonstrations. UNITAMS head Volker Perthes announces the start of political talks. Resistance committees active on grass roots level in all parts in the country call for new massive protests against the military rule. The procedures for implementing the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement security arrangements start in North Darfur.
January 11: A group allegedly consisting of members of government forces and former rebels plunder the remaining assets from the former UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in North Darfur. Mothers of protesters killed organise a vigil in Omdurman. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports 15 attacks on health facilities and workers in Sudan since November 2021.
January 12: The Sudanese Journalists Network reports the detention of two press photographers in Khartoum. Farmers in northern Sudan continue blocking the highway to the Egyptian border despite a freeze on electricity tariffs in the agricultural sector. Darfur Governor and former rebel leader Minni Minawi pledges to recover all property looted from UNAMID and the World Food Programme (WFP) in North Darfur.
January 13: A young protester is shot dead during anti-junta Marches of the Millions in Khartoum. A number of journalists are assaulted. Lorries are accumulating at the road blocks on the highway to the Egyptian border. Killings and robberies in Darfur continue, while people living east of El Geneina, West Darfur, fear new attacks. The Sudanese Human Rights and Development Organisation (HUDO) reports various acts of lawlessness in South Kordofan.
January 15: The Ministry of Information withdraws the license of Al Jazeera Live. Wounded protesters are detained while leaving the Royal Care Hospital in Khartoum. The African Union expresses its readiness to support political consensus among all parties in Sudan. UNITAMS begins talks with democratic parties in Sudan, while resistance committees in the country say they will present their joint standpoint in a ‘political charter’. The resistance committees of Wad Madani, capital of El Gezira, issue a joint position paper concerning a democratic Sudan. El Hadatha daily newspaper ceases publication because of continuing press curbs.
January 17: Seven demonstrators are shot dead during demonstrations bound for the Republican Palace in Khartoum. The recovery of goods stolen from the former UNAMID headquarters in El Fasher begins. UN officials denounce the looting. The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) expresses his frustration about the elapse of 17 years without any justice for Darfur’s people.
January 18: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expresses serious concern about the human rights situation in Sudan. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy strongly criticises the repeated violence against demonstrators. The Sudanese Journalists Network calls for an international solidarity campaign “to stop the crimes against humanity committed by military forces and militias in Sudan”. People all over the country mourn the protesters killed on January 17 and begin a two-day ‘comprehensive strike’. Coup leader and head of the Sovereignty Council Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan forms a committee that will investigate the violence of January 17. A woman activist is detained by Military Intelligence in South Kordofan for posting a report on Facebook about the Sudanese Armed Forces recruiting child soldiers.
January 19: Seven residents of Zamzam camp are killed in North Darfur attacks.
January 20: Thousands of Sudanese in the country demonstrate to commemorate the 71 protesters killed since the military coup d’état on October 25 last year. USA will only resume suspended aid to a civilian-led Sudanese government.
January 21: The Sovereignty Council will organise a ‘comprehensive national dialogue‘ to resolve the current political crisis.
January 24: Three protesters are killed during the Marches of Millions in the country. Security forces detain nine staff members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) treating wounded protesters in El Jawda Hospital in Khartoum.
January 25: The two young protesters who were detained on January 14 on charges of killing a police officer, have reportedly been tortured in detention. The detained MSF staff members are released. The Darfur Bar Association and partners decry the recent detention of several activists in Omdurman. Herdsmen rape three young girls in Central Darfur.
January 26: The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs condemns the continued use of excessive violence against demonstrators by the Sudanese military. The El Gezira and El Managil Farmers Alliance forewarns the authorities of a winter harvest failure.
January 27: A prominent economist expects the economic conditions in the country to deteriorate if the political impasse is not overcome. People living in the Nuba Mountains, south Kordofan, fear that the region will become a ‘second Darfur’, as insecurity is rampant in the region.
January 31: More than 65 activists and human rights defenders are detained in Khartoum in the past few days. Port Sudan resistance committees block the way for Egyptian lorries in support of farmers blocking the highway to Egypt in northern Sudan.
February: Protests against the military junta continue. More opposition members and activists are detained. The visiting UN independent human rights expert condemns the ongoing suppression. The US Congress may impose targeted sanctions on the October 25 putschists. UNITAMS continues to consult stakeholders about a broad dialogue ‘on the way forward’. Gen Hemeti heads a Sudanese trade delegation to Moscow at the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. People in various parts of the country predict a famine in the coming months.
February 1: Members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee demand targeted sanctions on Sudanese authorities responsible for the military coup on October 25 last year. The Khartoum Resistance Committees announce weekly Marches of the Millions on Monday.
February 2: Five demonstrators in El Fasher, North Darfur, are wounded in protests against the visit of Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan and Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Sovereignty Council and leaders of the coup d’état on October 25 last year. In South Kordofan five people are killed in an ambush.
February 3: The Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS) does not see any possibility for a ‘real dialogue with the military regime‘.
February 4: The annual report by the UN Panel of Experts on Sudan reveals that UAE-funded mercenaries in Libya bankrolled Darfur armed movements during 2021.
February 5: Armed bandits, believed to be former rebel fighters, attempt to loot the remaining assets of the former UNAMID base in El Fasher. Northern Sudan farmers reportedly remove their barricades on the highway to Egypt.
February 7: US Senator Chris Coons cautions Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan that the US Congress may impose targeted sanctions “on those undermining the democratic transition in Sudan”. Protests against the military continue across Sudan despite blockades by security forces. Three BBC reporters are briefly detained in Khartoum. Resistance committees in Northern State re-establish blockades on major roads after security forces dismantled them.
February 8: Protests against the military continue across Sudan.
February 9: Three leading members of the Empowerment Removal Committee (ERC*) are detained following a ‘breach of trust’ reported against them by the Ministry of Finance.
February 10: The weekly resistance demonstrations continue. The Sudan Troika and the EU are “alarmed” by the recent detentions of high-profile political figures. The rebel signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement are instructed to move their forces from residential areas in Darfur.
February 11: The UN Security Council (UNSC) extends the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the Sudan Sanctions Committee, until March 12 next year.
February 12: The high-level AU delegation visiting Khartoum ‘hopes to help Sudan reach peace and stability’. Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan pledges on the national TV that the Sudan military will ‘quit politics’ after general elections have been held.
February 13: Two more leading ERC members are detained in Khartoum.
February 14: A protester is killed during the Marches of the Millions in Khartoum. The AU Commission warns that the ‘current situation’ in Sudan threatens the country with grave political, security, and economic risks. UNITAMS reports that the first stage of talks for a political process concluded “with inspiring visions of Sudanese stakeholders on the way forward”.
February 15: Large crowds gather in Khartoum to mourn two young protesters shot dead during mass anti-coup protests in the city. The UN Expert on human rights in Sudan expresses deep concern over the killing of protesters in Sudan. Farmers and activists in Northern State continue to close the highway to the Egyptian border in protest against the military coup.
February 17: At least 38 activists are detained incommunicado in Khartoum. More than hundred activists in Soba Prison continue their hunger strike in protest against their detention without legal charges. Medics criticise the Khartoum state’s ‘tenfold’ increase of the medical services tariffs.
February 19: Another ERC member is detained in Khartoum.
February 20: A protester is killed in Khartoum during spontaneous demonstrations against the military junta.
February 21: About 40 of the more than 200 activists held in detention are released during the visit of the UN Expert on human rights in Sudan to the country. The Bank of Khartoum dismisses 40 more critical employees. The government of Sudan strongly denounces the inauguration of hydroelectricity production at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
February 22: Traders on the parallel forex market are returning. Economist Hasan Bashir warns that the economic situation in the country will reach “a dead end”. An international water resources expert advises the Sudanese government to call for the intervention of the UN Security Council concerning the Ethiopian dam.
February 24: The UN independent Expert on human rights in Sudan calls on the international community to intervene. The authorities use excessive violence to prevent demonstrators to reach the Republican Palace in Khartoum. Reports confirm systematic online attacks against social media pages of influential activists.
February 26: The fall of the Sudanese Pound and ongoing price increases are prompting fears of a famine in the country. The death toll from the suppression of pro-democracy protests after the October 25 military coup rises to 83.
February 27: Western diplomats urge Sudan to condemn the Russian aggression in Ukraine. A prominent opposition leader calls Hemeti’s current visit to Russia ‘an adventure’. Sudanese journalists lament mass media curbs. Resistance committees in Khartoum issue a political charter about ‘the path to democracy’.
February 28: One protester is killed in Khartoum injured in anti-junta demonstrations. UNITAMS releases its first report on talks to break Sudan political impasse. A Sudanese political analyst says that Hemeti’s visit to Russia was arranged by the Wagner group. Amnesty International demands the release of two young protesters detained on suspicion of killing a police officer and who have been subjected to torture.
March: Attacks on residents of West Darfur’s Jebel Moon escalate. More pro-democracy demonstrators are killed. Lawlessness is growing in the country. The Sudanese Pound continues to plunge. UNITAMS and AU urge a nation-wide dialogue to halt the deteriorating security, political, and economic situation. UN agencies predict a food crisis for 18 million Sudanese.
March 1: Relatives of 17 detained members of the disbanded anti-graft committee (ERC*) demand their immediate release. The authorities have allegedly use torture to extract confessions from two young protesters accused of killing a police brigadier on January 13.
March 2: The Friends of Sudan group urge Sudanese stakeholders to attempt to resolve the ongoing political crisis. Gen Hemeti charts Sudan’s official policy on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
March 3: Gunmen wreak havoc in North and Central Darfur.
March 5: Two humanitarian workers are killed in attacks on Jebel Moon, West Darfur.
March 6: At least 27 people are killed in attacks by armed herdsmen in the Sudan-South Sudan disputed border area of Abyei. The death toll of the West Darfur violence rises to 16. The Sudanese Pound exchange rate hits a record low on the parallel forex market.
March 7: Diplomats call for the restoration of freedom of expression in Sudan. The UN Human Rights Commissioner strongly condemns abuses in Sudan. The 2019 June 3 Massacre investigation committee is forced to stop work after security forces seizes the committee’s main office. Dozens of activists are detained in the country ahead of today’s women’s marches. Sudan again unifies its currency exchange rate.
March 8: The Sudanese Pound continues its plunge against the US Dollar.
March 10: West Darfur’s Jebel Moon is under siege as militants carry out ‘systemic attacks’. Two more protesters are killed in pro-democracy Marches of the Millions in Khartoum. UNITAMS and AU warn that Sudan may ‘plunge into the abyss’ if no solution is found soon for the deteriorating security, political and economic situation.
March 12: The head of UNITAMS calls for a de-escalation of the violence in Darfur and across Sudan. Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agree to establish various economic partnerships.
March 14: The attacks in Jebel Moon, West Darfur, last week left 36 dead and more than 150,000 families displaced. At least 104 protesters are injured in Khartoum. The two young men held for allegedly killing a police brigadier in Khartoum in January go on hunger strike, demanding that the Public Prosecutor investigate the charges.
March 16: The West Darfur government confirms that elements of the military abetted the attack on Seleia in Jebel Moon locality on January 7.
March 17: The Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) announces stiffer gold export control measures.
March 18: Sources report a surge in lawlessness in the country, especially by ‘men in uniform’.
March 19: During his visit to eastern Sudan, Gen Hemeti calls on the various tribes and clans in the region to ‘unite for the greater good’.
March 20: Mass student demonstrations break out in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, following a new rise in the price of bread. The US Dollar rate in banks and on the parallel forex market continues to rise. Various critics lambast renewal plans for Port Sudan harbour, announced by Hemeti.
March 21: Another young protester is killed in Omdurman. A photojournalist is shot in central Khartoum during his coverage of the Marches of the Millions today. The US Treasury sanctions Sudan’s Central Reserve Police over serious human rights abuses.
March 22: North Darfur governor cautions that climate change droughts will lead to more conflicts over water.
March 23: UN agencies warn of a looming food crisis for 18 million Sudanese. The US State Department condemns the upsurge of violence in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile state. Five are wounded when paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) shoot at protesters against the arrival of a gold mining company in Red Sea state. Traffic has ground to a virtual standstill across Khartoum, as protesters erect barricades as part of a ‘revolutionary escalation’. An economist predicts that the US Dollar ‘could soon cost more than SDG1,000’.
March 24: The death toll of pro-democracy protesters killed in the country following the military coup on October 25 last year rises to 90 during today’s Marches of the Millions.
March 27: Mass marches in Khartoum are met by more violence. A protester is shot dead. The Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance supporting the military coup proposes two-stage dialogue to resolve the current political crisis in the country.
March 28: More than 70 demonstrators are injured during anti-junta Marches of the Millions in Khartoum.
March 29: The head of UNITAMS briefs the UN Security Council on the situation in Sudan. Sudan’s Foreign Ministry comments that UNITAMS should concentrate on basic aspects of mandate, ‘not just politics’. The Friends of Sudan reiterate their support for a civilian-led transition to democracy in the country.
March 30: At least 10 people are killed in tribal clashes in South Darfur. Security forces detain a journalist for covering a demonstration in Khartoum. A Turkish power ship near Port Sudan leaves as the Red Sea state government’s fails to meet its financial obligations.
* The full name of the committee is the Committee for Dismantling the June 30 1989 Regime, Removal of Empowerment and Corruption, and Recovering Public Funds. It was established by the government of Abdallah Hamdok at the end of 2019 with the aim to purge Sudan of the remnants of the Omar Al Bashir regime. Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the ousted government of Al Bashir supported its affiliates by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions, the setting-up of various companies, and tax exemptions.
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