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Sudan military chief orders release of jailed protesters

14 April, 2019, 05:41 | Author: Taylor George
  • African Union chief Moussa Faki

Protesters rejected the military takeover and leadership of defence minister Awad Ibn Auf, taking to the streets on Thursday and Friday calling for the latter's fall and quicker and more substantial change.

The military rulers vowed to open a dialogue with all political groups on forming a civilian government as protesters railed against their seizure of power after ousting president Omar al-Bashir.

Ibnouf said a transitional military council would replace the president for two years, adding that the country's borders and airspace were shut until further notice.

Lieutenant General Omar Zein Abedeen, head of the political military committee, promised to serve as the "protectors" of public will.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir addresses supporters during his visit to the war-torn Darfur region, in Bilal, Darfur, Sudan September 22, 2017. The US imposed sanctions on him in 2007 in relation to his alleged support for militia blamed for atrocities in Darfur.

The council said on Friday it would not extradite Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

This came only four months after Uhuru and Bashir held bilateral talks at the Presidential Palace in Baringo where the two signed agreements about oil and petrol deals.

Sudan's second new military leader in as many days accepted the resignation of the feared intelligence chief on Saturday as he faced calls at home and overseas for a swift handover to civilian rule. After ousting the president, the military announced it would rule the country for two years through a transitional council.

They refused to leave the streets, saying the coup leaders were too close to Bashir.

But protest leaders say that a change of military ruler will make no difference; what they want is an immediate handover to a civilian government.

The minister also announcedthe suspension of the Constitution, the dissolution of the National Assembly and a three-month state of emergency for three months.

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Mr Ibn Auf said the country had been suffering from "poor management, corruption, and an absence of justice" and he apologised "for the killing and violence that took place".

Thursday's announcement meant "we have not achieved anything", said one protester who gave his name only as Adel. "The Sudanese people have been clear that they are demanding a civilian-led transition now", a State Department spokesman said.

Ouf, on a USA sanctions list for Darfur genocide, was sworn in as head of the new military transitional council that has taken charge for the next two years.

Around the same time, Sudanese political exiles in Egypt were reportedly being hunted by spies from Sudan's National Intelligence Security Service (NISS).

The fresh stand-off has raised fears of a violent confrontation between protesters and the army.

A former military intelligence chief, Ibn Ouf remains under United States sanctions for his role in the regime's brutal response to a 2003 ethnic minority rebellion in Darfur region.

Burhan was one of the generals who reached out to protesters at the week-long encampment near the military headquarters, meeting with them face to face, and listening to their views.

AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said it was not an appropriate response to the challenges facing the country and the aspirations of its people.

Russia, which twice hosted Mr Bashir despite the worldwide travel ban he faced, called for calm. The deposed leader is yet to be seen since Thursday's events.

NISS, which Gen Gosh headed, exemplified the ruthlessness of security forces under Mr Bashir's regime.

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