Saturday April 20, 2024

Sudan’s post-uprising PM unharmed in assassination bid

March 10, 2020

KHARTOUM: Sudan´s post-uprising Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok survived unharmed after a bomb and gun attack targeted his convoy Monday on the way to work in the capital Khartoum, officials and state media said.

The attack on Hamdok, a seasoned economist named premier last August, was staged in the Kober district of northeast Khartoum, in an apparent sign of the shakiness of Sudan´s transition to civilian rule. "An explosion hit as Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok´s car was driving by but thank God no one was hurt," Ali Bakhit, his office director, said in a Facebook post. Sudan´s official news agency SUNA said that Hamdok, who later chaired an extraordinary cabinet meeting, was in "good health and a safe place".

The unidentified attackers struck at "around 9 am at the entrance to Kober bridge... at the time when Hamdok usually heads to his office" in the city centre, SUNA said. The cabinet said an explosion and multiple gunshots targeted the convoy. Images on state television showed at least two damaged vehicles at the blast site, which was quickly cordoned off by police. Hamdok, 64, wrote on his official Twitter account that he was unharmed and released two photos of himself beaming while seated at his desk. "I would like to assure the people of Sudan that I am safe and in good shape," he said.

He appeared on television exchanging hugs with public figures who congratulated him for surviving the attempt on his life. "Rest assured that what happened today will not stand in the way of our transition, instead it is an additional push to the wheel of change in Sudan," said Hamdok in a tweet.

The premier also met with leaders of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) movement, who spearheaded nationwide protests against longtime president Omar al-Bashir calling for civilian rule.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and no arrests were announced. The "terrorist attack" had targeted the "revolution of the Sudanese people and the gains they achieved", the cabinet said in a statement. It said there were no casualties apart from a guard "who suffered a minor shoulder injury after falling from his motorcycle". Dozens of demonstrators in Khartoum later took part in public shows of support for Hamdok, chanting "with our blood and soul, we will sacrifice ourselves for you". "This is our homeland and Hamdok is our leader," they sang.

Hamdok´s appointment as prime minister came on the back of a power-sharing deal between military leaders, who ousted Bashir in April, and the FFC. He had built a solid career in continental and international organisations, including as deputy executive secretary of the UN´s Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Since he took office, Hamdok has vowed to tackle social and economic difficulties and been attempting to forge peace with rebel groups across the country.—