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Sudanese paramilitary commander says coup failed to bring change

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The deputy head of Sudan’s ruling council Mohamed Hamdan Daglo on Monday criticised last year’s military coup, saying it has failed to bring change and deepened the country’s economic crisis.

“We have unfortunately not succeeded in bringing about change,” Daglo said during an interview with the BBC, declining to elaborate.

“The whole thing failed and now we (Sudan) have become worse,” said Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Sudan has been rocked by deepening unrest since a military coup in October last year, led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, that upended a transition to civilian rule installed following the 2019 ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir.

The coup triggered wide international condemnation and foreign governments slashed aid, deepening a chronic economic crisis.

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has since been reeling from near-weekly protests, spiralling economic woes and a deterioration in security, with spiking ethnic clashes in its far-flung regions.

Burhan had long insisted that the military takeover was “not a coup” but only meant to “rectify” the course of the post-Bashir transition.

Last month, the army chief pledged to step aside and make way for civilian groups to form a new government.

Key civilian leaders dismissed his move as a “ruse”, and pro-democracy protesters have held fast to their rallying cry that there can be “no negotiation, no partnership” with the military.

During the BBC interview, Daglo said he had “no (political) ambitions” and that he would only step in “if Sudan is moving towards collapse”.

He reaffirmed Burhan’s pledge, saying the military would exit the political scene “if that allows for Sudan to stabilise and prosper.”

“We are not being elusive, and we are true to our word,” he said, adding that he hoped civilian factions would soon reach an agreement.