Former Sudan Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi died from contracting COVID-19 three weeks after being admitted at a United Arab Emirates hospital. He was 84.
Former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi Dies of COVID-19
The 84-year-old was the last democratically-elected Sudanese prime minister. He was overthrown in 1989 in the military coup that set forth former president Omar al-Bashir to reign.
According to the National Umma Party, Al-Mahdi died on Thursday in the UAE, where he had traveled for treatment after testing positive for the COVID-19 infection.
Al-Mahdi was the head of the NUP and an outspoken critic of Bashir, who was himself ousted by the army in 2019 during mass protests. He twice held tenure of Sudan, a nation that has shifted between civilian and military reign throughout its 60 years of independence, reported Bloomberg Quint.
The top opposition figure was transferred to the UAE three weeks ago after his Sudan hospitalization.
According to the party in a statement, "We offer our condolences to the Sudanese people over his death," reported 24 News HD.
He was toppled from power in 1989 by the now-ousted president Bashir. Mahdi was a steadfast opposition figure amid Bashir's long regime and participated in a mass protest movement that prompted the military to overthrow the president in 2019, reported The Standard.
The moderate Umma Party was one of the biggest opposition parties under Bashir. Mahdi remained an influential figure even following the ousting of Bashir.
Bashir, since his ousting, has been imprisoned in the Kober prison in Khartoum and was found guilty in December due to corruption.
Bashir is currently on trial in Khartoum for his participation in the 1989 coup that brought him to his office.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted him for his alleged war crimes in the Darfur war in 2003. Bashir's autocratic regime spanned three decades before he was deposed in last year's coup.
Mahdi was the Sudanese prime minister briefly in the mid-60s and had another tenure in the 1980s.
In October, Mahdi condemned United States President Donald Trump for brokering a negotiation for Sudan to start normalizing ties with Israel.
He was the African nation's most prominent opposition leader.
He descended from Muhammad Ansar, the 19th-century messianic leader who fought against Ottoman and British regimes and developed a short-lived Islamic state. He also spearheaded the Ansar Sufi order.
According to the Umma Party in a statement, Mahdi would be buried on Friday morning in the Sudanese city of Omdurman.
In December 2018, Mahdi returned to Sudan after a year-long self-exile, simultaneously with protests over aggravating economic conditions and Bashir's rule gathering steam.
Mahdi's first bout in office was in 1966-67, two years after the October Revolution as Marxist and Islamist group factions contended for power. Two decades after another famous uprising, he led a coalition government from 1986-1989.