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Sudan Appoints New Defense Chief amid Tensions with Ethiopia

Sudan Appoints New Defense Chief amid Tensions with Ethiopia

Tuesday, 2 June, 2020 - 18:00
Sudan appoints a new defense minister. (Reuters)

Sudan on Tuesday swore in a new defense minister more than two months after the death of the former defense chief and amid tensions with neighboring Ethiopia.


Maj. Gen. Yassin Ibrahim Yassin was sworn in before Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, according to a statement from the council. Yassin came out of retirement to take the position.


Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the country’s chief judge Neamat Abdullah attended the ceremony, the statement said.


The ceremony was held in the capital Khartoum. Attendees were seen in a video posted online by the sovereign council wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus, which has further weakened Sudan’s health system.


Yassin replaced Gen. Gamal al-Din Omar, who died in March of a heart attack in neighboring South Sudan, while taking part in peace talks between his country’s transitional government and rebel groups.


Yassin told reporters after the ceremony he would support Hamdok’s government and work hard to “achieve the goals ... of the transitional period.”


Born in 1958 in Khartoum, Yassin, a career army officer, studied in Sudan’s military academy, and obtained a bachelor's degree in military science from Jordan’s Mutah University. He retired in 2010, according Sudan’s official SUNA news agency.


The swearing-in came amid tensions with neighboring Ethiopia over a cross-border attack allegedly conducted by a militia backed by Ethiopia’s military.


At least one Sudanese army officer and one child were killed in an attack on Thursday by an Ethiopian militia group in Sudan’s eastern al-Qadarif province, according to Sudan’s military. Another Sudanese officer and three civilians were wounded in the incident, according to the Sudanese statement.


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