Sudan coup: Military leader vows to 'uproot regime'

Demonstrators attend a protest rally demanding Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to step down outside Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 10, 2019. [REUTERS]

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

Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman 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.

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In his address, Gen Burhan announced the end of a curfew, confirmed the release of jailed protesters and dissolved all provincial governments.

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.

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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.

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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 Ibn Auf as an ally of 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”.

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“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.

He 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 Bashir, who denies the charges, although he may be put on trial in Sudan.

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SudanOmar al-BashirSudan Professionals AssociationSudanese Congress Party