Sudan’s president is returning to his roots as a military ruler in an attempt to re-establish control of the country, as prolonged street demonstrations and divisions in his party put his leadership under unprecedented strain.

Omar al-Bashir imposed a nationwide state of emergency and appointed military and security officials to run Sudan’s 18 states last week, while also reshuffling his government for the third time in 12 months. 

“He’s playing what seems like a desperate last card,” said Murithi Mutiga, a Sudan expert at the International Crisis Group. “He has no tools to fix the economy and no credible answers to the protesters’ demands, so he has thrown his lot in with the military.”