Published: Fri, April 12, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Sudan army detains President Bashir, declares state of emergency

Sudan army detains President Bashir, declares state of emergency

The Sudanese Military Transitional Council headed by First Vice President and Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf is making arrangements to assume the power in the country for a year, the local Baj News website says.

Bashir courted Turkey and Russian Federation, at the same time as Khartoum stepped up security cooperation with Washington, hoping to speed up the country's emergence from decades of US sanctions that were lifted in 2017. The protests were aggravated by the economic crisis that has been taking a toll in the country.

The streets of Sudan's capital were filled with cars and trucks honking their horns on Thursday as people shouted and cheered wildly, punching their fists in the air and waving Sudanese flags, witnesses said.

Months of protests have plunged Sudan into its worst crisis in years.

As pressure mounted on al-Bashir to leave power, almost 50 people were killed in a series of protests that erupted in December, according to media reports.

The UN Security Council is to discuss the situation in a closed-door meeting on Friday called by the US, France, Britain, Germany, Belgium and Poland, diplomats said.

The protests have continued nearly daily for the past four months, sparked originally by soaring bread prices, cash shortages and a deepening economic crisis.

"The Sudanese army will issue an important statement soon. And we need to ensure there's no more violence", he said on Twitter.

Sudan, along with Iran, Syria and North Korea, is on Washington's blacklist of state sponsors of "terrorism".

But it was Bashir's response to the insurgency in the western Darfur region that has come to define his legacy.

After years of promising to hold his country together amid disputes with the oil-rich south, al-Bashir quickly accepted the referendum results in 2010 that created one of the world's newest countries, South Sudan.

The U.S. removed some sanctions on Sudan in 2017, but the economy did not improve.

A three-month state of emergency will also be put in place, he said.

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What is the global community doing?

The African Union's ability to effect change on the ground, however, remains limited, Jones said.

In an apparent concession to a demand of the protesters, the National Security and Intelligence Service said in a statement that all political detainees would be released.

"Fall, again!" many chanted, adapting an earlier anti-Bashir slogan of "Fall, that's all".

The announcement came as tens of thousands of people marched through the capital, Khartoum, some shouting that the "regime has fallen".

Canada participated in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sudan's Darfur region and other parts of the country until 2009.

Trade between the two countries is negligible at $44 million in 2016, including $350,000 in imports from Sudan.

Protesters denounced the military's moves, with the SPA demanding the "handover of power to a civilian transitional government that reflects the forces of the revolution".

Early Thursday morning, the military deployed to secure key sites and installations around Khartoum, witnesses said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he hopes Sudan can overcome its upheaval peacefully through "national conciliation" and urged it to try to operate "a normal democratic process". But pro-democracy demonstrators were left angry and disappointed when the defense minister announced the armed forces will govern for the next two years. The depth of these fissures remain unclear.

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

People are seen in the streets of Khartoum after the televised statement by the defence minister on Thursday.

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