Former government officials arrested, opposition parties told to appoint PM

Sudan's transitional military council arrested top former government officials and promised to stop dispersing protesters.

The council told the opposition to pick the next prime minister, adding that they will implement their choice.

Months of protests in Sudan led to the ouster and arrest of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir last week.

SEE ALSO :One dead as Sudan protesters rally outside army HQ

Demonstrators have vowed to stay on the streets until there is an immediate move to civilian rule.

A sit-in has been continuing outside the defence ministry in the capital Khartoum.

In a press conference on Sunday, spokesman Maj Gen Shams Ad-din Shanto said the military council was "ready to implement" whatever civilian government the opposition parties agreed.

"We won't appoint a PM. They'll choose one," he said, referring to opposition and protest groups.

He also said the army would not remove protesters from their sit-in by force, but called on protesters "to let normal life resume" and stop unauthorised roadblocks.

SEE ALSO :Sudan army deploys as protesters keep pressure on Bashir

"Taking up arms will not be tolerated," he added.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) had called for the establishment of a transitional council which would be protected by the armed forces, adding it would exert “all forms of peaceful pressure to achieve the objectives of the revolution”.

The military announced a raft of new decisions late on Sunday including the retirement of Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf.

Ibn Auf, and his deputy, resigned as head of the transition council after they assumed the positions following Bashir’s ouster.

The council also appointed Lieutenant General Abu Bakr Mustafa as intelligence chief, succeeding Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, commonly known as Salah Gosh, who resigned on Friday.

SEE ALSO :Sudan braces for military announcement after anti-Bashir protests

 “The ball is now in the political forces’ court when it comes to the prime minister or a government,” Shams El Din Kabbashi said.

Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abideen, another member of the council, said the opposition would have one week to submit their suggestions.

The head of the military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, had earlier said the council had invited the main opposition parties and protest organisers for a meeting.

Skipped meeting

But the SPA and other main opposition parties, which together make up a group known as the Forces for Freedom and Change, said they did not attend the meeting.

SEE ALSO :Sudan’s army topples dictator Bashir in coup

“We were not invited to this meeting ... we will submit our suggestions for the government to the military council,” a spokesman for SPA told Reuters.

SPA, which has been spearheading the demonstrations, said the council's response "did not achieve any of the demands of the people" and urged protests to continue.

Among its demands are the restructuring of state security, the arrest of "corrupt leaders" and the dissolution of militias that operated under former President Bashir.

A Reuters witness said the meeting was largely attended by unknown politicians and parliamentarians who are known to be loyal to Bashir’s party.

A sit-in in the Sudanese capital, which began on April 6, was the culmination of a protest movement that began nearly four months ago, triggered by a worsening economic crisis.

Kabbashi said there had been orders by the former regime to disperse the sit-in “at whatever cost,” but the military had refused to do so and will continue to protect protesters.

Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website Digger.co.ke and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.

Sudan ProtestCivilian GovernmentOmar al-Bashir