Sudan timeline July-September 2020: Public anger at slow implementation of revolution, floods devastate communities countrywide
Public frustration and dissatisfaction at the pace of change in Sudan following the revolution, as life has changed little for many in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Al Bashir regime.
The Sudanese government has abolished strict Islamic legislation that made apostacy punishable by death and allowed the Public Order police to publicly flog people. Non-Muslims will be permitted to drink, import, and sell alcohol.
A chorus of women’s organisations have called for women’s rights to be upheld, and for more representation for and by women in national and local government.
The country still suffers from runaway inflation and reserves of foreign currency, essential to import essential commodities such as fuel and medicines, are running low. This has been fuelled by vast amounts borrowed by the government from Sudanese banks.
In spite of the efforts of local and international aid organisations, which have been further hampered by particularly heavy floods as well as COVID-19 travel restrictions, hunger is still widespread. According to a national study, one in three Sudanese children is malnourished.
A particularly heavy rainy season has seen the Nile reach record levels and the worst flooding in Sudan in the last three decades. More than 100 have died and at least 770,000 Sudanese have been affected, while relief organisations have provided assistance to more than 350,000. Entire towns and villages have been devastated, thousands of homes and businesses washed away, and countless livestock drowned. The floodwaters also threatened UNESCO-listed archaeological sites on the island of Merowe.
The last quarter has seen a spike in violence in Darfur, with major incidents at Fata Borno camp in North Darfur (nine dead) and a massacre at Misterei in West Darfur that killed at least 60 people.
Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan resumed talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), however major points of disagreement remain unresolved.
Radio Dabanga carries ongoing daily coverage and comment on the situation in Sudan.
Timeline Sudan July-September 2020
July: Attacks in Darfur continue, sit-ins call for security, better services
July 1: A demonstrator was killed and dozens were wounded in the Marches of the Millions that took place across the country on June 30. The people demanded civilian rule, peace, and better living conditions. Thousands of people join the sit-in in Central Darfur’s Nierteti demanding security.
July 2: Protests against insecurity are growing in Darfur.
July 3: The Sudanese government negotiating peace with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance in the South Sudanese capital Juba reaches an understanding about power-sharing on the highest level. The Sudanese government has expressed ‘full solidarity’ with the sit-in in Central Darfur’s Nierteti set up in protest against the rampant insecurity in the area. Pharmacists denounce the ‘major medicine gap‘ in Sudan. The Ministry of Health reports a total of 9,663 coronavirus cases in the country as of June 30.
July 4: According to estimates of Sudan’s National Population Council, Sudan’s population exceeds 43 million. Nearly one in four is in need of aid. A Darfuri activist calls for more women in decision-making government posts. Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan resume talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
July 6: The Sudan peace talks are reportedly close to a deal – eastern track to be rediscussed.
July 7: The government delegation in Nierteti promises to send a protection force. Sudan’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) arrests members of a currency counterfeiting network. Sudan launches its first Solar Lab. East Sudanese transport drivers strike for higher tariffs.
July 8: The South-Sudanese mediation team expects that the peace agreement between Khartoum and the SRF rebel groups will be signed in Juba in a week. Tribal fighting in New Halfa in Kassala ends with mass arrests. The COVID-19 lockdown, imposed on April 18, will be eased.
July 9: Sit-ins calling for a better life spread from Darfur to the rest of Sudan. The participation of women in Sudan’s post-revolution political process is ‘inadequate and incomplete’, says the Sudanese Women’s Group for Peace and Security.
July 10: PM Hamdok replaces six ministers. Protest marches and sit-ins calling for the removal of officials affiliated with Al Bashir regime continue in the country. More than 10,000 coronavirus cases are recorded in Sudan.
July 12: The Sudanese government abolishes strict Islamic legislation. The Minister of Justice clarifies the repeal of the laws. New sit-ins demanding security, rights, freedoms, justice, and better living conditions are launched in western and eastern Sudan.
July 14: Nine people are killed as militiamen storm the sit-in in Fata Borno camp in North Darfur.
July 16: Women groups in Sudan launch campaign No Excuse – We Want Our Full Rights to involve more women in government positions. The Nierteti sit-in is lifted, other protest vigils continue in Sudan. Tensions are rising between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan following reports that the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is being filled with rainwater. FIDH and ACJPS organisations urge the UN Human Rights Council to continue to monitor Sudan. Washington targets entities in Sudan that support a Russian financier.
July 17: While Sudan’s annual inflation rate surged to 136.36 per cent in June, almost a quarter of the Sudanese population is severely food insecure. New protests erupt in eastern Sudan and Darfur. Covid-19 is spreading in northern Sudan. In Lagawa in West Kordofan, the Grand Market is plundered.
July 19: Khartoum witnesses limited demonstrations against amendments of the Sudanese Penal Code, which according to the protestors violate the Sharia (Islamic law). The North Darfur government dispatches additional forces to Kutum following violent incidents in the locality.
July 21: A Sudanese study finds one in three Sudanese children malnourished. The number of Covid-19 cases rises after easing of lockdown. Ousted former President Omar Al Bashir and 27 former officials appear in court for their alleged part in the 1989 military coup.
July 22: The Resistance Committees Coordination in Khartoum announce an escalation of protests to press for the implementation of the demands of the revolution. Dozens are killed in tribal fighting in Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan.
July 25: At least 15 people are killed in an attack by armed men on a village in South Darfur’s Gereida. Another mass grave is found in Khartoum, allegedly containing the bodies of 28 army officers killed in 1990.
July 26: More than 11,000 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in Sudan.
July 27: At least 60 people are killed in an attack by armed men on Misterei in West Darfur. Banditry across Darfur leaves seven dead, three women raped. More armed forces deployed in Darfur as violence spikes. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) in South Kordofan, and the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) sign a Declaration of Principles in Juba. Feminist groups in Khartoum protest the weak women representation in high-level government posts.
July 29: The sit-in in Abu Jubeiha in South Kordofan demands better services and the removal of gold mining plants. People in Kadugli protest against insecurity in the area. Unamid expresses its concerns over the growing violence in Darfur. In eastern Sudan, the Khartoum-Port Sudan highway is paralysed by protestors. The Beja Council demands self-determination in case their demands for adjustment of the eastern Sudan accord signed in Juba are not met.
July 30: UN Chief António Guterres urges restraint after Darfur violence.
July 31: The Sudanese Human Rights and Development Organisation (HUDO) urges Khartoum to lift the State of Emergency in southern Sudan. According to Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, the long-winded Ethiopia dam talks need a clear agenda. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies condemns the ‘arbitrary detention’ of 72 people by the RSF militia in West Darfur.
August: Heavy rains ravage the country, fuel shortages reported
August 2: Torrential rains cause floods in the eastern parts of Khartoum. The Cabinet lauds Pompeo’s will to remove Sudan from US terror list. Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, Vice-President of the Sovereign Council and Commander-in-Chief of the paramilitary RSF warns of ‘a well-studied plan’ to thwart peace in the country.
August 3: The Sudanese government cancels the ‘exit visa’ that was required for travellers leaving the country. Heavy rainfall causes the collapse of thousands of homes and public buildings. Two people are killed in tribal clashes in New Halfa in Kassala. For the first time in decades, a North Darfur governor visits camps for the displaced.
August 4: Five people die and hundreds of houses are destroyed by rains in North Darfur. Leaders of the Fallata and Rizeigat tribes agree on reconciliation in Nyala, capital of South Darfur. A planning team of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) arrives in Khartoum. Kassala activists will travel to Khartoum to discuss the disputed appointment of the new state governor.
August 5: Seven sit-ins calling for justice, improved security, and better services in various parts of the country are lifted. Several other protest vigils continue. Ethiopia’s stance on Renaissance Dam hardens. Floods destroy bridge, roads, houses in eastern Sudan. Port Sudan witnesses extremely long fuel queues as the city runs on empty.
August 7: PM Hamdok discusses Sudan’s removal from the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism by phone with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Sudan Armed Forces (consisting of the army and the RSF militia) and the SPLM-N El Hilu exchange accusations of using violence against civilians in the Nuba Mountains.
August 9: In response to the violence in several parts of the country, activists in Khartoum start the Protect the Right to Live campaign.
August 10: The government passes the revised 2020 state budget. Four people are killed in fighting between members of the Beni Amer and Nuba tribes in Port Sudan. Six die in floods in various parts of Sudan. The Covid-19 intensive care capacity in Khartoum is increased.
August 12: Port Sudan clashes continue. Herders attack farmers in Darfur. The National Consensus Forces (NCF) oppose the state budget amendments. Ethiopian gunmen steal cattle in eastern Sudan. Displaced in Sudan don’t feel represented by Sudanese media.
August 13: Port Sudan violence continues despite curfew, army presence. North Darfur bans unregistered vehicles. Cautious calm in Port Sudan. Nine new polio cases confirmed by Ministry of Health. USA imposes visa restrictions on ‘multiple individuals’ in Sudan. RSF troops facilitate return of South Darfur displaced.
August 17: Demonstrators all over Sudan demand a correction of the course of the revolution. The Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) in Juba agree on merging forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.
August 18: The government and SPLM-N Agar sign security arrangements protocol in Juba. Police blamed for ‘excessive force’ against protestors on August 17. Roads are blocked in Khartoum in protest against violent dispersal of demo.
August 19: Less than 0.03 per cent of the Sudanese is infected by COVID-19.
Sudan govt, SPLM-N Agar renegotiate political issues in South Kordofan, Blue Nile state.
August 20: Government, Darfur rebels unify peace negotiation papers in Juba. The SPLM-N El Hilu withdraws from the peace talks, in protest of the chairmanship of the government delegation by RSF Commander Hemeti. Protests calling for the course of the Sudanese revolution to be put back on track continue in Khartoum and Wad Madani.
August 24: Activists call on the government for all military groups and militias in the country to be dismantled. US Secretary Pompeo visits Israel ahead of Sudan visit. The Darfur peace negotiations come to a close. The chairman of the Sovereign Council defends the role of Sudan Armed Forces in the country’s economy.
August 25: Hamdok, Pompeo hold ‘direct and transparent’ talks in Khartoum. More than 12,900 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in total in Sudan since March. Sudan and Ethiopia underline need for solution on Renaissance Dam. Tensions rise between Sudan army and El Gedaref farmers.
August 26: Tribal clashes erupt in Kassala between supporters and opponents of the new governor.
August 27: Peace talks on the Darfur security arrangements in Juba lead to a deal on the integration of rebel combatants into the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). Women’s groups call on the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice to enact laws that protect women from harassment. Sudan’s current economic programme threatens the future of democracy in the country, says economist Sidgi Kaballo.
August 28: Nile water levels break record in Sudan. Protests demanding justice and better basic services continue in various parts of the country. Kassala town and surroundings witness widespread violence again.
September: Peace accord concluded, floods continue, bread shortages resurge
September 1: The UN, UNAMID, the Sudan Troika (USA, UK, Norway), and the EU congratulate Sudan with the comprehensive peace agreement signed in initials on August 31. The UN High Commissioner urges human rights be at the heart of the peace deal.
September 2: The Sudanese government and the rebel groups have agreed to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the indicted Sudanese officials.
September 3: The Nile reaches a new record level. Sudan and South Sudan will strengthen their ties. The Sudanese government and the armed movements will establish a Fund for Peace Support and Sustainable Development in Darfur. According to the New York-based ACJPS all decisions taken by recently dismissed judges in Sudan must be reviewed.
September 4: At least 100 people have died in Sudan due to heavy rainfall and floods. In Addis Ababa, PM Hamdok signs a Declaration of Principles with Abdelaziz El Hilu, leader of the SPLM-N in South Kordofan. Members of the Resistance Committees in Khartoum protest Sudan’s Information Law. The Information Ministry will review restrictive media laws.
September 7: Six people are injured in South Darfur following a violent dispersal government forces of the sit-in in Douma. Leaders of the Rizeigat and Mararit tribes sign a reconciliation deal in South Darfur.
September 8: The Sudanese government and the SRF agree on an implementation matrix for the Juba peace agreement. The hold-out Sudan Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) denies any official contact with Khartoum. Sudan urges cautious ‘return to normal’ during COVID-19 pandemic, precautions during school exams. The water level in the rivers continues to rise in the country.
September 9: Many shops in Khartoum have stopped selling products for fear of making losses because of the soaring inflation.
September 10: The Nile levels begin to fall, yet the danger is still acute. Floods threaten Merowe heritage site in northern Sudan. The Finance Minister declares a State of Economic Emergency, after a price leap of the Dollar halted the stock exchange in Khartoum. Economic analysts attribute the recent plunge of the Sudanese Pound against the US Dollar to the lack of foreign exchange resources, capital migration, as well as smuggling, speculation, and the increase in import needs. Sudanese women agree on a ‘strategic feminist coalition‘.
September 14: Sudan’s secondary school exams, delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, started in the country. Sudan’s Peace Council discusses future UNITAMS projects in the country. The Judicial Authority outlines measures for witness protection.
September 15: Sudan inflation reached 166.83% in August. More polio cases are reported in eastern Sudan’s Kassala. South Kordofan government agrees to protestors’ demands. According to a Darfur law expert the Juba peace accord contains a set of risks.
September 16: Nearly 80% of the Sudanese live in poverty. The Minister of Education postpones the opening of the new school year for two months because of the rains and the schools are ‘not ready yet’.
September 17: The COVID-19 lockdown is lifted in Sudan. The World Food Programme will scale-up aid to 160,000 flood victims. A number of towns are again experiencing severe shortages of bread. Displaced people in Darfur welcome El Nur’s peace initiative. Paramilitaries of the RSF seize ‘enough explosives to blow up Khartoum’.
September 20: US Secretary of State urges settlement deal with Sudan. 770,000 Sudanese are affected by floods this year. Five members of the Feed Arts group are sentenced to two months imprisonment and a fine for public disturbance.
September 21: Sovereign Council chairman Abdelfattah El Burhan will discuss the US sanctions, the relation with Israel, and economic aid for Sudan with American officials in Abu Dhabi. Five customs police officers are killed by weapon smugglers in Northern State. The conviction of members of the Feed Arts group sparks outrage in Sudan and abroad. The Sudanese Professionals Association and the Organisation of the December Revolution Martyrs’ Families have been awarded by the US Freedom House.
September 22: Sudan’s Anti-Corruption Committee forms branches in the states. Humanitarian organisations in Sudan assist 350,000 flood victims. Nuba activists call on all Sudanese to support the Hamdok-El Hilu deal signed in Addis Ababa earlier this month.
September 23: The delegation of the SRF rebel alliance visiting Khartoum and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) agree to develop ‘a broad social bloc’. Leaders of the eastern Sudanese Beni Amer and Habab tribes and of Nuba tribesmen living in Kassala again extend their cessation of hostilities deal.
September 24: Sudan’s compensation for USS Cole and embassy bombings is ‘ready for payment’. Sit-ins in Northern State demand removal of ‘symbols of Al Bashir regime’. The ICC Prosecution requests postponement of first hearing session of Ali Kushayb case.
September 25: The International Monetary Fund endorses a staff-monitored programme for Sudan. An unknown fever causes the death of 10 people in northern Sudan. Nuba march in several Sudanese towns in support of the Hamdok-El Hilu deal. Six more artists are convicted in Khartoum. In Nierteti, Central Darfur, two farmers are shot dead by herders.
September 26: The National Economic Conference is held ‘at time of disagreement’. According to the Sovereign Council member Mohamed El Taayshi, the Juba Peace Agreement defines the relationship between religion and state.
September 27: Sudan, South Sudan sign a draft oil production agreement.
September 28: Eastern Sudan conference to discuss alternatives to peace agreement. EU to contribute to Sudan family support programme. Hamdok expresses his appreciation for the efforts of the Trump administration and the US Congress to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Protestors in southern Sudan demand protection of farmers.
September 29: Sudan army, rebels blame each other for Central Darfur fighting. The large amount borrowed by the government from Sudanese banks this year fuelled the inflation, according to the Central Bank of Sudan. The bread protests in Port Sudan are set to escalate. Resistance Committees threaten ‘return to the streets’ if Khartoum lifts subsidies on basic commodities.
September 30: Bread and fuel shortages return. The eastern Sudan conference concludes with demands for self-determination. Sudan’s Attorney General instructs prosecutors to expedite corruption investigations into leaders of the regime of ousted Omar Al Bashir. More than 300,000 unlicensed firearms collected in Sudan during the past three years are officially destroyed.
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