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How the civil unrest in Sudan played out6 minutes read

On June 9, police fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse demonstrators building roadblocks in the capital

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Civil Disobedience: People protest against Monday's deadly military raid on a nonviolent sit-in in Khartoum, Sudan,

The deadly crackdown by security forces on protesters in Sudan follows a building standoff between the ruling military and demonstrators demanding civilian rule. The unrest started in December 2018, when citizens revolted against a tripling of the price of bread.

In April demonstrators launched a sit-in in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum to demand the departure of the regime of long-time president Omar al-Bashir. He was ousted by the army a few days later, but the protesters remained in place in their thousands to press their demand for the military to cede power.

Sudanese soldiers stand guard a street in Khartoum on June 9, 2019. - Sudanese police fired tear gas Sunday at protesters taking part in the first day of a civil disobedience
Sudanese soldiers stand guard a street in Khartoum on June 9, 2019. – Sudanese police fired tear gas Sunday at protesters taking part in the first day of a civil disobedience campaign, called in the wake of a deadly crackdown on demonstrators. Protesters gathered tyres, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks in Khartoum’s northern Bahari district, a witness told AFP, but riot police swiftly moved in and fired tear gas at them. (Photo by – / AFP)

On June 3 security forces broke up the sit-in, launching a crackdown that left more than 100 dead in just a few days. Here is a summary of events leading up to the military’s move to end the long-running protest.

Talks to settle unrest break down

On May 20, after several breakthroughs, talks between the ruling military council and protest leaders reach a deadlock over who should head a new governing body which should oversee a three-year transition to civilian rule. Protest leaders insist a civilian must head the new sovereign council and that civilians should make up the majority of its members, proposals rejected by the ruling generals.

Sudanese forces are deployed around Khartoum's army headquarters on June 3, 2019 as they try to disperse Khartoum's sit-in.
Sudanese forces are deployed around Khartoum’s army headquarters on June 3, 2019 as they try to disperse Khartoum’s sit-in. – At least two people were killed Monday as Sudan’s military council tried to break up a sit-in outside Khartoum’s army headquarters, a doctors’ committee said as gunfire was heard from the protest site. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

Islamist movements back the military in the hope it will keep sharia, Islamic law, in place since a 1989 coup. On May 28-29, thousands of workers in both the public and private sectors strike across the country to pressure the military rulers.

Saudi, UAE, Egypt back military

In late May, the head of the military council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, visits Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. As commander of the country’s ground forces, Burhan is reported to have coordinated the deployment of Sudanese troops within the Saudi-led coalition which intervened in 2015 in Yemen to support the government against Huthi rebels accused of links with Iran.

Related: Police try to quell civil disobedience in Sudan

The three regional powers have thrown their weight behind the Sudanese military for fear of a repeat of the turbulence that followed the Arab Spring in several countries in 2011. Qatar, however, a long-time ally of Bashir but also a friend to Iran and involved in a bitter dispute with Saudi Arabia and its allies, has seen its influence in Sudan wane since the start of the crisis.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C-L) meets with the chief of Sudan's ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (C-R), in Khartoum on June 7, 2019.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C-L) meets with the chief of Sudan’s ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (C-R), in Khartoum on June 7, 2019. – Ethiopia’s prime minister arrived in Khartoum today seeking to broker talks between the ruling generals and protesters as heavily armed paramilitaries remained deployed in some squares of the Sudanese capital after a deadly crackdown, leaving residents in ‘terror’. (Photo by – / AFP)

On May 31, the military council closes down the Khartoum bureau of the Qatari news channel Al Jazeera, which regularly broadcasts footage of demonstrations. There is no reason given for the order.

Bloody crackdown

On June 3, men in military fatigues move in on the protest camp outside the army headquarters and disperse the thousands gathered there with force. More than 100 have been killed and hundreds wounded since the start of the crackdown, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, close to the demonstrators. Internet connectivity is disrupted.

Sudan's military-protesters clash casualty rises to 13
Sudan’s military-protesters clash casualty rises to 115

A day later the military announces that all previous agreements with protest leaders on the transition are scrapped and that elections will be called “within a period not exceeding nine months”. Protesters denounce a putsch.

Related: Ethiopian leader visits Sudan to lead talks with military, protesters

In Khartoum and across the country, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – paramilitaries with origins in the 16-year-old war in the western region of Darfur – are thought to have been behind the crackdown. They are accused of atrocities, including attacks on hospitals. The international community demands an end to the violence and resumption of dialogue.

Civil disobedience and unrest

On June 5, as gunfire crackles across the capital, the army says it is open to negotiations “with no restriction.” Protest leaders turn down the call for talks with the military council “that kills people”. Saudi Arabia expresses “great concern” at developments and calls for a resumption of dialogue.

A Sudanese man walks towards a barricade made of bricks to block a street for cars in Khartoum's twin city Omdurman on the first day of a civil disobedience campaign
A Sudanese man walks towards a barricade made of bricks to block a street for cars in Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman on the first day of a civil disobedience campaign across Sudan on June 9, 2019. – Sudanese police fired tear gas at protesters taking part on June 9 in the first day of a civil disobedience campaign, called in the wake of a deadly crackdown on demonstrators. Protesters gathered tyres, tree trunks and rocks to build new roadblocks in Khartoum’s northern Bahari district, a witness told AFP, but riot police swiftly moved in and fired tear gas at them (Photo by – / AFP)

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy chief of the ruling military council and head of the RSF, says the country will not be allowed to slip into “chaos”. Opposition figures are arrested on June 8, a day after meeting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who had travelled to Khartoum as a mediator.

Related: Sudan’s opposition rejects Military Council’s election plan

On June 9, police fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse demonstrators building roadblocks in the capital, in response to a call by protest leaders for “civil disobedience” across the country. Markets and shops are closed in several Sudanese towns and cities.

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2Baba releases new album “Warriors”

The album is a key offering in the celebration of 2Baba’s 20 Years A King project.

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Award-winning Afropop icon 2Baba has released his new album titled “Warriors” earlier today, February 28. This album is released as part of his 20 Years a King (#20YearAKing) celebration, commemorating the two decades he has spent in the Nigerian music industry.

This new album contains just 13 tracks including previously released singles like ‘Important’, ‘Oyi’ and the Peruzzi-assisted smash hit, ‘Amaka’. The LP also boasts big-name collaborations like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Olamide, Tiwa Savage and Peruzzi. It also features appearances from AJ Natives, Symeca and his daughter HI Idibia.

The production of the album is handled by a galaxy of PBanks, Spelz, Blaq Jeerzy, Bolji Beatz, Speroach Beatz, Richie, Ploops and his longtime collaborator, Jay Sleek.

Interestingly, this is the first 2Baba album that comes with a title track, which also serves as the opener of the full-length project.

On Tuesday, February 25, the celebrated singer held a well-attended listening party for the album at the Artisan Lounge bar, Lagos.

His seventh studio album, “Warriors” is the long-overdue follow up to “The Ascension” which was met with mixed reviews upon its release in 2014.

Formerly known as 2face Idibia, 2baba is one Africa’s most successful artists, winning local, continental and international awards like BET and MTV Europe Music Awards.

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Exporting African sounds into Italy

Nigerian migrants are introducing Afrobeat to one of Italy’s most popular cities

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Nigerians are slowly stamping their authority in Italy's music space. Photo credit: Quartz Africa

Migrating from Africa to Europe is a particularly tricky business. It is usually very difficult to obtain visas, and consequently, many people opt for the long, tortuous route that runs through the Sahara Desert and extends into the Mediterranean Sea. It is a risky journey in many ways, as desperate migrants get robbed, swindled, enslaved or worse still, meet their end in the hot sands and high seas.

There is also the small matter of reputation when it comes to successful migrants. There are those who believe that men and women who manage to avoid death or slavery, and ultimately cross the borders into Italy and Spain, are either involved in drug peddling, prostitution or unsavoury menial jobs like washing up corpses.

There is a small group of people, however, who are slowly changing the narrative. These ones are not only showing that there is more that African migrants can do in Europe, but they are also exporting Nigerian music in all its exotic nature and rich flavour into one of Italy’s major cities.

Palermo, the capital city of the Sicilian province, is slowly becoming the Southern European capital for the world-conquering Afrobeats scene. Social media has given a platform to musicians who can reach a wide audience without institutional support. There are more than a few cities in Italy that are not exactly kind to migrants, but Palermo has gradually become a haven for a number of young Nigerian musicians to hone their craft and attempt to carve a niche for themselves on European shores.

The influx of these musicians has had a significant effect on the city, too. For instance, Ballaro, a small neighbourhood in Palermo, was once known as one of the most dangerous places in Italy, no thanks to the activities of the Mafia. But with the arrival of African and Asian immigrants, the neighbourhood is now revitalised and less prone to crime.

Artists like RayJeezy, Brenex Baba and Thug Money make a living from performing at night clubs across the city. They hope that their hustle ultimately pays off and that they gain worldwide recognition, but for now, they are contributing to the transformation of a city’s music and culture. Things are looking up for the African migrant population in Palermo, and it’s not hard to tell that there will be more where the music came from.

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Entertainment

Netflix Announces First Original Nigerian Series

This comes just after the U.S-based streaming giant launched Netflix Naija.

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Popular media-services provider Netflix has announced the production of its first original African series to be headlined by Nollywood director, Akin Omotoso.

This would be a six-part series that features an all-star Nollywood cast of Kate Henshaw, Ade Laoye, Richard Mofe Damijo, Joke Silva, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Kehinde Bankole and many others. 

Directed by a team of Akin Omotosho, Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi, the series tells the story of a reincarnated goddess who seeks to avenge her sister’s death.

This announcement comes just after the U.S-based streaming platform unveiled Netflix Naija on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

In a statement with Premium Times, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos revealed that “movies like King of Boys, Merry Men and The Bling Lagosians have shown how much our members love Nigerian movies. 

“So, we’re incredibly excited to be investing in Made in Nigeria stories – bringing them to audiences all around the world.”

Over the past year, Netflix has featured a number of Nollywood movies on its streaming platform. Among such movies include the culturally and commercially successful King of Boys, October 1, The Figurine, Mokalik, and Merry Men. 

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