Sudan’s president Bashir ousted

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2019/4/11 22:28:42

Military council to head transition: defense minister


President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years, was on Thursday overthrown in a coup by the armed forces which announced a two-year period of military rule to be followed by elections.

In an address on state television, Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said Bashir, 75, was under arrest in a "safe place" and a military council was now running the country.

Seated on a gold-upholstered armchair, Auf announced a three-month state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the constitution. He also said Sudan's air space would be closed for 24 hours and border crossings shut until further notice.

Sudanese sources told Reuters that Bashir was at the presidential residence under "heavy guard." A son of Sadiq al-Mahdi, the head of the country's main opposition Umma Party, told al-Hadath TV that Bashir was being held with "a number of leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group."

An anonymous Chinese security staff who works near the president's office in Khartoum told the Global Times earlier of the day that the situation was under control. According to him, they were given a special instruction Thursday that they should stay in the company's camps and were not allowed to step out of the company. 

Names of Bashir's possible successors that have been circulating include the defense Minister, an ex-military intelligence chief, also an Islamist, and former army chief of staff Emad al-Din Adawi.

Thousands of people protested outside the defense ministry on Thursday, calling for a civilian government and said they would not accept an administration led by military and security figures, or by Bashir's aides.

Omar Saleh Sennar, a senior member of the Sudanese Professionals' Association, one of the main protest groups, said it expected to negotiate with the military over a transfer of power. "We will only accept a transitional civilian government," Sennar told Reuters. Kamal Omar, 38, another demonstrator, said: "We will continue our sit-in until we prevail."

Some demonstrators, who have rallied against Bashir since December 19, said they feared the delay would allow him to go into exile.

Troops deployed around the defense ministry and on major roads and bridges in the capital.

Soldiers stormed the headquarters of Bashir's Islamic Movement, the main component of the ruling National Congress Party. Protesters also attacked the offices of Sudan's intelligence and security service in the eastern cities of Port Sudan and Kassala on Thursday, witnesses said.

Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the West to weaken him.

Sudan has suffered prolonged periods of isolation since 1993, when the US added Bashir's government to its list of terrorism sponsors for harbouring Islamist militants. Washington followed up with sanctions four years later.



Posted in: AFRICA

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