Sudan leader vows to ‘uproot regime’


By BBC
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The leader of Sudan’s interim military council has vowed to “uproot the regime” two days after a military coup.

Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced the “restructuring of state institutions”, in a televised address.

His announcement came as protests against the authorities continued, despite the ousting of long-time leader, Omar al-Bashir.

Protesters have demanded an immediate move to civilian rule and vowed to stay in the streets.

The army would maintain “peace, order and security” across Sudan during an already announced transition period.

It would last at most two years, he said, until elections could be held and civilian rule introduced.

He also called on the opposition to “help us restore normal life”, and promised to try those who killed demonstrators.

The speech came after the resignation of feared security chief Gen Salah Gosh hours after the coup leader himself, Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf, stepped aside.

No official reason has been given for either departure.

Privately-owned Sudan News 365 reports that opposition leaders are meeting with the military on Saturday to discuss “transitional arrangements”.

The Sudan Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the demonstrations, has called on the armed forces to “ensure the immediate transfer of power to a transitional civilian government.”

Omar el-Digeir, leader of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, said the military should not be “the sole custodians of power”.

A growing economic crisis has gripped the country since the oil-rich southern part split away in 2011, and Thursday’s coup followed months of unrest over rising prices.

When Mr Bashir was removed, he was replaced by a military council led by Mr Ibn Auf.

But demonstrators camping out outside army headquarters in Khartoum refused to disperse, rejecting Mr Ibn Auf as an ally of Mr Bashir.

On Friday the new leader announced he was resigning and being replaced by Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, who is seen as a less controversial figure.

But the move failed to satisfy protesters who have kept up their sit-in in the capital.

They called for the abolition of “arbitrary decisions by leaders that do not represent the people” and the detention of “all symbols of the former regime who were involved in crimes against the people”.

“Until these demands are fully met, we must continue with our sit-in at the General Command of the Armed Forces,” the SPA said.

On Saturday, Sudanese TV reported the resignation of Gen Gosh, head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) which has powerful forces within the capital.

The general has been a key ally of Mr Bashir since the early 1990s and is among 17 Sudanese officials indicted for genocide, human right abuses and war crimes in the Darfur region by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009.

The NISS has extensive powers and influence, supervising the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

At least 16 people have been killed by stray bullets at the protests since Thursday, police say.

The momentum is clearly with the protesters.

They have forced out two powerful generals in just a matter of days. NISS, which Gen Gosh headed, exemplified the ruthlessness of security forces under Mr Bashir’s regime.

There is however anger that Gen Gosh is not being arrested for alleged human rights abuses. The SPA had called for the disbandment of NISS.

And interestingly soon after Gen Gosh’s resignation was announced, the SPA released the names of its negotiating team. In the past they said they would not publish any names for fear they would be targeted.

The fact that they can do so now suggests there could be room for talks with the military council.

But in his first address Gen Burhan insisted the council would govern for two years. This idea has been rejected by opposition groups who demand a civilian transitional government. They have asked for demonstrations to continue until this happens.

Mr Bashir has also been indicted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

But the military council has said it will not extradite the ousted leader, who denies the charges, although he may be put on trial in Sudan.

Mr Ibn Auf was head of military intelligence during the Darfur conflict and the US imposed sanctions on him in 2007.

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Publish date : 2019-04-13 13:57:00

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