Officers who ousted President Omar al-Bashir from three decades in power have announced that a military council will run Sudan for a transitional period lasting up to two years, followed by elections.
But the man who announced Bashir’s ouster stepped down as head of the now-ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) after only a day in the post.
The new 10-member ruling council, now headed by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has said the transition can last much less than two years if chaos is avoided, and it is negotiating with the protesters on a transitional cabinet.
The TMC is staffed by senior military commanders comprising mainly the heads of the various branches of the armed forces as well as the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force under the military, the chief of police and a representative of the intelligence service.
Several members of the council were promoted to their current positions by Bashir in February as part of a regular reshuffle of the armed forces.
Ibn Auf, who Burhan replaced, was promoted by Bashir to vice president in February as protests intensified. He was known for his Islamist links.
Below are brief penpix of leading figures in Sudan’s security establishment:
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the new head of the TMC, was born in 1960 in the state of River Nile. He served as inspector general of the Sudanese armed forces and was its third most senior general, but was virtually unknown in public life.
He was the head of Sudan’s ground forces, a role in which he oversaw Sudanese troops serving in a Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen. His role in Yemen has given him ties to senior Gulf military officials, including from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.
It is not clear if Burhan has Islamist leanings.
Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known by his nickname Hemedti, is deputy head of the TMC, and the second most powerful man on the council. He was appointed by Burhan and replaced Kamal Abdelmarouf al-Mahi.
Born in 1975, he commands the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group that grew out of the Janjaweed militia, which operated in Sudan’s western Darfur region. The government had denied any wrongdoing by the RSF.
Like Burhan, Hemedti had been involved in supervising Sudanese forces fighting in Yemen and thus has strong connections with fellow UAE and Saudi officers.
Hemedti was a prominent figure in Bashir’s ruling circle, but it is not known whether he has Islamist leanings.
Omar Zain al-Abideen
Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abideen was deputy head of Sudan’s military production. He was introduced as head of the political committee of the TMC headed by Ibn Auf in its first press conference after Bashir’s ouster.
He remains the head of the TMC’s political committee under Burhan, and is widely seen as the council’s main political strategist. He is widely believed to have Islamist leanings.
Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh
Lieutenant General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh, who was a military officer, was brought out of retirement by Bashir and promoted to the post of deputy director of the country’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in February.
He was deputy to Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, commonly known as Salah Gosh, who tendered his resignation as head of NISS last Friday. Gosh was once seen as the most powerful person in the country after Bashir and protesters held him responsible for the killing of demonstrators demanding an end to military rule.
Sheikh is also widely believed to have Islamist leanings.
Sheikh graduated from military college in the same year as Burhan and Abideen, and the three have close relations.
Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel
Born in the village of Shaqlawa, northeast of the capital Khartoum, Lieutenant General Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel made his way up the ladder of the country’s police force until he was promoted by Bashir to the head of police in February 2018.