Sudanese want 'immediate' move to civilian rule

Demonstrators have kept up their 24-hour protests despite the ousting of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir demanding a transition to civilian rule. AFP  AHMED MUSTAFA
SUDAN: Military topples, arrests President al-Bashir
Author

15 April, 2019

The Sudanese council was established Thursday after the military toppled long-time President Omar Bashir.

The organisation which spearheaded the protests against Bashir, the Sudanese Professionals Association, called on the council "to immediately transfer power to a civilian government".

The NCP said the military's action would only slow a peaceful transition and void a national charter that was adopted by a majority of parties. Al-Bashir "set up an elaborate political-security system that only he was capable of running", and now they're "struggling with the conundrum of how to maintain consensus among a divided and militarized elite, and meet enough of the demands of the protesters to have a modicum of legitimacy".

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, who was sworn in Friday to replace ibn Ouf as head of a transitional council formed by the military, said they have invited "all spectrums of Sudanese people for dialogue".

Sudan's foreign ministry on Sunday urged the global community to support the country's new military rulers in order to ease a "democratic transition".

Burhan declared an end to night-time curfews and ordered the release of all detained protesters.

Al-Bashir imposed a state of emergency in February, banning unauthorized public gatherings and granting sweeping powers to the police in efforts to quash the unrest.

In a statement aired live on official Sudan TV, Burhan announced the cancellation of the curfew and the release of all people tried by the emergency law.

Tens of thousands of people have massed outside the army headquarters since April 6, initially to urge the armed forces to back their demand that Mr Al Bashir be removed. Protests sparked by price hikes on basic commodities erupted in December and quickly grew into a popular movement against the regime of Bashir.

It said they died "at the hands of regime forces and its shadow militias". At least 38 people have died in the protests.

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Bashir, 75, who ruled over 30 years, took power in a coup in 1989.

The political parties and movements behind the four months of protests said in a joint statement late Saturday that they would remain in the streets until their demands are met. We will shout together.

"It is crucial that Sudan's new authorities investigate Salah Ghosh's role in the killings of scores of Sudanese protesters over the past four months", said Amnesty's regional director Sarah Jackson.

The police said Friday that 16 people had been killed in live fire in Khartoum alone over the previous two days as NISS agents led a last stand for Bashir before the army intervened.

After deadly clashes at the sit-in last week, the atmosphere was relaxed, with soldiers drinking tea and chatting with protesters.

Mr Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the Darfur conflict.

A former military intelligence chief, Ibn Ouf remains under U.S. sanctions for his role in the regime's brutal response to an ethnic minority rebellion which erupted in the western region of Darfur in 2003.

Washington imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997 for its alleged links to Islamists which were lifted in October 2017, but the much awaited economic recovery has failed to materialise.

Head of the National Intelligence and Security Service Salah Mohammed Abdallah Salih also resigned, according to a statement from the military. It did not provide further details. He was arrested the following year on suspicion of involvement in a coup attempt but was later pardoned by al-Bashir, who appointed him intelligence chief in February 2018.


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