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Sudan: former President Abdulrahman Siwar al-Dahab dies aged 83

Abdulrahman Siwar al-Dahab, who led the removal of Gaafar Nimeiry in 1985, died at a military hospital in Riyadh.

Former Sudanese president Abdulrahman Siwar al-Dahab has died in Saudi Arabia, Sudan's state news agency (SUNA) reports.

The 83-year-old former leader of Sudan died in a military hospital in Riyadh, the agency said on Thursday, without providing further details.

Described by his contemporaries as a deeply religious man who was "noted for his high moral behaviour", Siwar al-Dahab was also known for his "sense of duty and nationalism".

He was a former military officer, who served as defence minister before he led the removal of Gaafar Nimeiry in 1985; Nimeiry had been president since 1969.

Expelled by Nimeiry from Sudan with no explanation in 1972, Siwar al-Dahab moved to Qatar where he served as adviser to the then-emir, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani.

He was called back to Sudan by Nimeiry in the 1980s and became deputy chief of staff then later chief of staff and minister of defence, the country's most senior military officer.

In 1985, popular demonstrations erupted, calling for the end of the Nimeiry regime; Siwar al-Dahab, along with a group of senior military officers, removed Nimeiry and declared the Transitional Military Council which undertook to steer Sudan's transitional period.

Siwar al-Dahab promised to hold elections in a year's time, a pledge few believed in a country exhausted by civil war.

However, the following year, he handed power over to a newly elected government headed by then Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi.

Siwar al-Dahab then resigned from the political arena, devoting himself entirely to religious issues and becoming chairman of the Khartoum-based Islamic Call Organization.

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