Who is Abdel Fattah al-Burhan?

Illustration by Jeanette Khouri

He is the de facto ruler of Sudan since the ouster of Omar al-Bashir due to a popular uprising in 2019.

Al-Buran assumed the rule of the country in April 2019, when he became Chairman of the Transitional Military Council after former Chairman Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf resigned over to protestors’ rejection for his ties with al-Bashir.

In 21 August, 2019, the Transitional Military Council was dissolved and The Sovereignty Council was formed also headed by al-Burhan to steer the transition. The power-sharing body of the Sovereignty Council comprised 11 members: five military men chosen by the military council and five civilians chosen by the civilian Forces of Freedom and Change, in addition to one civilian agreed upon by both sides.

Last October 25, Al-Burhan promulgated some decisions which he described as “correcting” the path of the revolution, as he dissolved the Sovereignty Council and the cabinet. He also announced a state of emergency in the country while confirming the state’s commitments to international conventions and agreements. He said that his step aims at resuming the transition towards an elected civilian government.

He added that he rejected the hegemony of any party on Sudan and that “some political actors wanted to have an exclusive power over the Sudanese scene… and wanted to exclude the armed forces from Hamdok’s recent initiative.”

Al-Burhan was born in Gandatu, north of Khartoum, northern of Sudan. He graduated from The Sudanese Military College, batch number 31. He firstly served in the capital, and participated in the Darfur war. He went to take military courses in Egypt and Jordan.

He held various military ranks starting from being a soldier in Border Guard Corps, then Commander of these corps. He assumed the position of Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces Operations, then Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces in 2018. He was later appointed inspector of Sudanese Armed Forces during al-Bashir era, and became Lieutenant General.

Al-Burhan oversaw Sudanese forces participating in the Saudi-led Arab alliance against Houthis in Yemen. He is known for supporting the Sudanese protestors against Omar al-Bashir during the uprising.


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