Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Sudanese protesters say military attempted to break up sit

Mohamed At 14 2017 is sacked Khartoum's envoy to Washington Mohamed Ata
Jeannette Daniel | 16 April, 2019, 03:34

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) reportedly attempted on Monday to break up a sit-in staged by protesters outside the army headquarters in Khartoum.

The African Union meanwhile gave Sudan's military 15 days to hand over power to a "civilian-led political authority" or face suspension from the union's activities.

The news portal added that the South Sudanese authorities had suggested that Bashir's relatives should try to leave for the UAE city of Dubai from Khartoum and not from Juba.

The statement comes nearly a week since the Sudanese military deposed President Omar al-Bashir, who had held power for 30 years, on April 11 following months of peaceful protests that brought the country to a standstill.

On Thursday, Sudan's army announced that it had removed and detained Bashir and was setting up a transitional military council to run the country.

There were no clashes and no one was hurt.

Earlier, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) protest group issued an urgent call for people to join the sit-in and block any attempt to disperse it.

Videos circulated online showing hundreds of troops outside the military compound in Khartoum. An officer is heard saying they came to "clean" the area.

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The umbrella organisation, which spearheaded the months of protests that precipitated al-Bashir's removal, also demanded the sacking of Sudan's prosecutor general and judiciary head, as well as the disbanding of the former president's National Congress Party (NCP).

"The protesters sat on the ground in front of them peacefully and refused to move the roadblocks", Nadia, a 22-year-old Sudanese architect, told The New Arab. In some videos the protesters chant "Revolution", as well as slogans against al-Bashir's Islamist supporters.

The foreign ministry said the military council's chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan was "committed to having a complete civilian government" and urged other nations to back the council in order to achieve "the Sudanese goal of democratic transition".

Protest leaders say their demands include restructuring the country's feared NISS agency, whose chief Salih Ghosh resigned on Saturday.

Since his ouster, al-Bashir - president for almost 30 years - has been under house arrest in Khartoum.

At the news conference, the SPA said the military had promised to protect the sit-in.

A military spokesman said Sunday it will name a civilian prime minister and Cabinet - but not a president - to help govern the country. Lt. Gen. Shamseldin Kibashi said in televised remarks that the military had begun to overhaul the security apparatus and wouldn't break up the demonstrations outside the military headquarters.

The foreign ministry urged the global community to back the military council "to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition". Dozens of people were killed in a security crackdown aimed at quashing the protests.

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