Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan (Arabic: عبد الفتاح عبد الرحمن البرهان‎; born 11 July 1960[citation needed]) is a Sudanese politician and Sudanese Army general who is currently serving as Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, the country's collective transitional head of state. Before assuming this role in August 2019, he was the de facto head of state of Sudan as Chairman of the Transitional Military Council after former Chairman Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf resigned and transferred control in April 2019.[4][5]

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
عبد الفتاح البرهان
18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement gets underway in Baku 017 (cropped).jpg
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in 2019
Chairman of the Sovereignty Council
Assumed office
21 August 2019
Prime MinisterAbdalla Hamdok
DeputyMohamed Hamdan Dagalo[1]
Preceded byPosition inaugurated
Chairman of the Transitional Military Council
In office
12 April 2019 – 20 August 2019
DeputyMohamed Hamdan Dagalo[2]
Preceded byAhmed Awad Ibn Auf
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born (1960-07-11) 11 July 1960 (age 60)[citation needed]
Qandto, Northern Directorate (present-day River Nile), Sudan
Political partyIndependent
Military service
Allegiance Sudan
Branch/service Sudanese Army
RankSudan Army - OF09.svg General[3]

He was formerly the General Inspector of the Sudanese Armed Forces.[6]

Burhan's record is considered to be cleaner than that of most of Sudan's generals, and he met with protesters during the Sudanese Revolution to listen to their demands.[7]

In May 2019, Burhan's first international trip was to Egypt to meet Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.[8] His second visit was to the United Arab Emirates.[9]

Early life and educationEdit

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan was born in 1960 in the village of Qandto in the River Nile State in Northern Sudan, to a religious family. al-Burhan studied elementary and intermediate level in his village school, and later moved to Shendi to complete his education before joining the Sudanese Military College among the 31st batch.

Military careerEdit

After graduating from the Military Academy, al-Burhan worked in Khartoum, as part of the Sudanese army, and participated in the fighting fronts in the Darfur war and in the Second Sudanese Civil War in South Sudan and other regions. He later traveled to Egypt and then to Jordan to receive training courses in his military field until in 2018 he was appointed commander of the ground forces of the army. [10]

Al-Burhan held several positions throughout his career as he began as a soldier with the Border Guard Forces and later became Commander of this Force before becoming Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces Operations and then Chief of Staff of the Sudanese Army in February 2018 before he served as Inspector General of the Army for a period of time.[11] By February 26, 2019, during the massive protests that swept the country and demanded the fall of Omar al-Bashir's regime; Abdel al-Fattah al-Burhan was elevated to the Lieutenant General rank.

Chairmanship of Military CouncilEdit

Shortly after his appointment, Burhan ordered the release of all jailed prisoners who had been arrested by his predecessor, Omar Al-Bashir, in a televised address.[12]

Khartoum massacreEdit

In early June 2019, following al-Burhan's and Dagalo's visits to the Egyptian, UAE and Saudi leaders, the Sudanese Security Forces and Rapid Support Forces, including Janjaweed militias, led by al-Burhan and his deputy cracked down on peaceful protests in Sudan, starting with the 3 June Khartoum massacre.[13][14] Dozens of peaceful protesters were killed and about forty of the bodies were thrown in the river Nile, hundreds were tortured, violated and raped in the streets of Khartoum.[13][15]

Al-Burhan's talks with the opposition on forming a combined government were then cancelled. During the days that followed, the TMC arrested several of the opposition leaders.[16][17]

El-Baghdadi interpreted the decision-making by the TMC under al-Burhan's leadership as being strongly influenced by the general context of the Saudi, UAE and Egyptian leaders being afraid of democratic movements.[18] Mahmoud Elmutasim, a political activist and doctor who graduated from the University of Khartoum, similarly stated that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are opposed to the existence of democracies in the Middle East, since if "the idea of democracy itself [should] ever take root, or become widespread in the Middle East," then it would constitute a threat to the governmental systems of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.[19]

Internet shutdownEdit

Several human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch condemned the Burhan-led TMC for shutting down internet. A spokesperson, Shamseldin Kabbashi, stated that the internet would be shut down for a long time because it represented a threat to national security.[20][21] The move was described by HRW as a "Gross violation of human rights". International media saw this as a sign of dictatorship and condemned the act.[22] Many believe it was an attempt to hide what Al Burhan's allied militia known as the Janjaweed were doing in Khartoum and to delay uploading evidence of the violations that took place on the 3 June 2019 and the days that followed.[23]

Civilian government negotiationsEdit

Numerous protesters asked for a civilian government. On Saturday 13 April 2019, Burhan announced that a civilian government would soon be established. Burhan promised that the transitional period would take a maximum of two years.[12] Negotiations started to take place with the opposition leaders to achieve this.

In late May 2019, al-Burhan visited the Egyptian president el-Sisi and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. İyad el-Baghdadi, a human rights activist who became famous during the Arab Spring, later interpreted these visits (together with a visit by TMC deputy leader Dagalo to Mohammad bin Salman in Saudi Arabia) as encouragements for the TMC to cancel negotiations with the opposition.[18]


  1. ^ "Sudan: Constitutional Decree On Appointment of Sovereignty Council Issued". allAfrica.com. 21 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Sudanese militia commander waits in wings after president ousted". Gulf Times. 23 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Sudan's Burhan, from relative unknown to regional player". France24. 3 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Sudan's Ibn Auf steps down as head of military council". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Sudan coup leader Awad Ibn Auf steps down". BBC. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  6. ^ Abdelaziz, Khalid (12 April 2019). "Head of Sudan's Military Council Steps Down, a Day After President Toppled". Reuters. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Sudan coup leader steps down after a day". BBC. 13 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Sudan interim military council chief Al-Burhan meets with Egypt's President El-Sisi". Arab News. 25 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Sudan military council chief to visit UAE". Alarabiya. 26 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Who is new head of Sudan's transitional council". Anadolu Agency. 13 April 2019. Archived from the original on 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Who is Abdel Fattah al-Burhan". Alhurra. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Civilian government to be established in Sudan: new head of military council". Reuters. 13 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b "'Bodies pulled from Nile' after Sudan crackdown". 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  14. ^ correspondent, Jason Burke Africa; Salih, and Zeinab Mohammed (5 June 2019). "Sudan paramilitaries threw dead protesters into Nile, doctors say". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Sudan military offers talks after allegedly killing 100 protesters". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  16. ^ "2 Sudan rebel leaders arrested after peace talks with Ethiopian PM". Middle East Monitor. 9 June 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  17. ^ "'Bloody massacre': Sudan forces kill at least 35, protesters say". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  18. ^ a b el-Baghdadi, Iyad (11 June 2019). "The Princes Who Want to Destroy Any Hope for Arab Democracy". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Chaos reigns in Sudan as military clings to power amid information blackout". TRT World. 11 June 2019. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  20. ^ Arab, The New. "Sudan generals 'will not restore' internet because it poses a threat". alaraby. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  21. ^ Mitchell, Charlotte. "Internet blackouts: The rise of government-imposed shutdowns". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Sudan: End Network Shutdown Immediately". Human Rights Watch. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  23. ^ "To end mass protests, Sudan has cut off Internet access nationwide. Here's why". The Washington Post. 16 June 2019. Retrieved 16 June 2019.