Sudanese military and government officials have reported the death of Lieutenant General Jamal Al-Din Omar. General Jamal died in the South Sudanese capital Juba, while taking part in peace talks between his country’s transitional government and rebel groups on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
In a statement released later on Wednesday, Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, who leads the Sovereign Council, paid homage to the general, “who died while struggling for the stability of Sudan”, a reference to talks with rebels to end Sudan’s years-long civil wars. In a tweet, Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok said, “Today our country has lost one of its loyal and loyal sons.”
Omar was a member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, which took power last year under a 39-month power-sharing deal between the country’s military and the pro-democracy movement that led the uprising against former autocratic President Omar Al Bashir.
Mohammed Al Taishi, a spokesman for the Sudanese government’s delegation to the talks with the rebels, said the negotiations would be suspended for a week from Wednesday because of Omar’s death.
Sudan’s transitional government has been engaged in peace talks with rebel groups since October. Juba is hosting those negotiations, which aim at stabilizing the country and help its fragile path to democracy survive following the military’s removal last April of Al Bashir, who held on to power for nearly three decades.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in fighting in Sudan’s insurgencies. The toll includes the restive western Darfur region, where Al Bashir brutally repressed an uprising in the early 2000s. Since then, the International Criminal Court has sought Al Bashir on charges of war crimes and genocide. Reaching a peace deal with the rebels is crucial to Sudan’s transitional government as it seeks to rehabilitate the country’s battered economy, attract much-needed foreign aid and deliver the democracy it promises.