KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The government on Thursday declared a 3-day national mourning on the untimely death of PM and leader of the Ansar Sect, Imam Sadiq Al Mahdi. it also ordered national flag to be flown at half mast in and outside the Sudan, the first such symbolic move by the country in years.
The 85-year old Imam passed away after contracting COVID-19, along with 27 members of his family. He passed away early mourning Thursday in the United Arab Emirates where he was flown in a special jet for treatment for COVID-19 but his condition deteriorated and he succumbed to the disease.
Mahdi, the head of the religious sect of Ansar, Arabic for Supporters, was known to be a staunched advocate for Democracy and democratic government in his country, for which he paid years behind the bar during the rule of Omar Bashir (1989-2019). Bashir took power at the expense of then elected prime Minister Mahdi.
Mahdi, who was known to be relentless preacher for moderate interpretation of the Islamic code, and a fierce opponent of what he termed “deformed” application of the Islamic code by Bashir government, enjoyed huge followers as a religious leader not only in the Sudan but as far as Chad, Niger, Mali, Cameron and Nigeria, mostly followers the west African historic leader Osman Dan Fodio.
Mahdi’s family was hit hard by COVID-19, with 27 members of the family getting the virus, he was the most senior and was the first to pass away.
The body will be flown to the Sudan on Friday, with the party he headed calling on supporters to strictly adhere to health and social distancing measures when attending the burial that would take place Friday morning in Omdurman, the strong hold of the ansar sect.
Mahdi hailed from the Sudanese revolutionary leader, the first African resistance movement that drove the British colonial out of the Sudan, Imam Mohamed Ahmed Al Mahdi (1881-1899).
Hundreds of messages of condolence and obutireis have started pouring into the Sudanese main stream media since the early hours of the day. The cabinet and the collective presidency issued statement on the untimely death of the late prime minister, an Oxonian by education, a father of a huge family, children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“Today is a sad day for Sudan. The European Union and its member states embassies express their sincere condolences to the people and government of Sudan, to the members and the supporters of the Umma National Party on the death of H.E. Al Imam Al Sadig Al Sideeg Abdel Rahman Al Mahdi, the former Prime Minister of Sudan, ” Ambassador Robert van den Dool, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan tweeted on Thrusday.
Al Mahdi was a great statesman, religious figure, thinker and supporter of civilian, human rights, interfaith dialogue and democracy in Sudan. He was a friend of Europe, peace and the world. Through good times and bad, he showed the power of a strong will applied to a worthy cause. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the Sudanese people.”
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