Sudanese bankers organize “revolutionary” strike after military coup | Sudan

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Sudan has been hit by a severe cash shortage as most banks and ATMs remain closed a week after a military coup triggered a nationwide bankers strike.

About 90% of the bankers were involved in a campaign of civil disobedience, said Ibrahim Abdel-Raheem, who works at the National Workers’ Bank in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. “We knew that going on strike as bankers would cripple the economy,” he said. “Banks are the backbone of the economy.

The Sudanese Bankers Association said it would stage protests outside banks across the country on Tuesday and Thursday in a “revolutionary escalation” of its campaign.

Abdel-Raheem said the action had personally affected him. “I had to give up a lot of things,” he said. “I don’t even have a book in my pocket. I only buy very basic things, because I have no money.

Yassir Binawai, a 46-year-old man who works in the mining industry in northern Sudan, said he had to borrow money from his employer’s canteen to buy food. “It was so difficult to manage with the lack of cash,” he said. “But we will not give up despite all the struggles.”

Cash still dominates the Sudanese economy due to the lack of ATM infrastructure. Western Union suspended operations last week, making access to cash more difficult.

Salah Mamoun, from Omdurman, said he relied on friends who worked in the foreign exchange business to raise money. “There is no money in the market,” he said.

Commodity prices have fluctuated wildly in recent weeks, making financial planning difficult for ordinary people.

A shop owner in Khartoum who declined to give his name said he was forced to borrow money from a neighbor and his family was in difficulty. “There is a recession, no one is buying things from our store,” he said. “My wife has money in her bank account [but] removing it is a problem because the ATMs are empty.

On October 25, Sudan’s highest general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, dissolved the cabinet as well as the ruling Joint Military-Civilian Sovereign Council, which led Sudan’s transition to full civilian rule after the overthrow in 2019. of the autocratic president Omar al-Bashir.

In a move widely condemned internationally, Burhan declared a state of emergency and detained Sudan’s civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and members of his government.

The US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday to try to defuse the crisis.

Feltman accused Burhan of acting in bad faith in organizing the coup hours after having had one-on-one talks with him in Khartoum, in which he made no allusion to his plan to take power.

The United States has suspended $ 700 million in debt relief and aid and has urged potential Sudanese military allies – Russia and the United Arab Emirates – not to support the coup. “We are with a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, to restore the [government] in Sudan, ”Feltman said.

Feltman urged the military to restore the fallen civilian government, release all prisoners, including Hamdok, who is currently under house arrest, as well as allow medical assistance to reach injured protesters without interference.

“To the freedom-loving Sudanese and those who would seek to deprive them of their democratic ambitions, I say, ‘The world is watching and the Sudanese people have made it clear that they will not accept a military attempt to put aside their struggle. hard fought democratic. transition.'”

Feltman also questioned Burhan’s good faith. “For all of his statements supporting the 2019 constitutional declaration and their desire for elections, his actions did the opposite, undermined the civil-military partnership and hijacked the kind of transition that the military and civilians had agreed to,” a- he declared.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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