Youth research

Who is Abdalla Hamdok, the Sudanese leader ousted in a coup

Until a military coup in Sudan, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had the heavy task of trying to liberalize his country and lead it to democracy after three decades of dictatorship, while revitalizing its battered economy and normalizing relations with the world.

Monday evening, we did not know where he was.

Mr. Hamdok, 65, an economist by profession, had spent much of his career working in international institutions. But in August 2019, he joined a three-year transitional government that was formed after a revolution that overthrew dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir and claimed more than 100 Sudanese lives.

Initially, the opposition coalition Force of Freedom and Change and the Army’s Transitional Military Council agreed to govern jointly, laying the groundwork for a transition to fully civilian government and democratic elections in 2022. But these In recent weeks, there have been many signs that the military was unwilling to relinquish power and expose itself to investigations into abuses committed under Bashir’s rule.

Last year, Mr. Hamdok survived an assassination attempt in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. “We have paid a high price for this revolution for a better future and for lasting peace,” he wrote on Twitter after the attack. “Our revolution must always be kept calm. “

Her government repealed Bashir-era laws that placed restrictions on women as to what they could study and wear, outlawed female genital mutilation, and appointed women to head five ministries.

In the days leading up to the coup, Hamdok was due to travel to Saudi Arabia to attend the Middle East Green Initiative Summit, which aims to cut carbon emissions and began on Monday. But over the weekend, after meeting with soldiers from the Sovereignty Council who were ruling the country, he decided not to leave the country, according to an official in his office who was in hiding and spoke under cover of anonymity for fear of reprisals. .

“He realized after this meeting that they were not planning anything good, that this moment was inevitable,” the official said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Hamdok and his wife were taken from their home at around 3:30 a.m., the official said. “Only God and the people who took him know where he is,” he said.

Prior to entering government, Mr. Hamdok worked for the United Nations for many years, most recently as Deputy Executive Secretary of its Economic Commission for Africa from 2011 to 2018.

He obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Khartoum and a PhD in Economic Studies from the University of Manchester, England. During the 1980s, he worked as a senior official for economic planning in the Sudanese Ministry of Finance.

But after Mr. al-Bashir, then army general, seized power in a military coup in 1989, Mr. Hamdok mainly worked abroad.

Before joining the UN, he worked for Deloitte & Touche Management Consultants in Zimbabwe. He also worked as an economist at the African Development Bank in Côte d’Ivoire and as an advisor to the International Labor Organization.

Mr. Hamdok has also served as Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, an intergovernmental organization that supports democratic institutions.

Abdi Latif Dahir contributed reporting.

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