Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Sudan should free protesters, investigate use of force

Sudan should free protesters, investigate use of force

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

Early on Friday, the military council said it had "no ambitions" to permanently rule the East African country.

Sara Abdelgalil, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, said the global community should now focus on preventing a massacre in Sudan.

Government buildings and private property were also attacked, Reuters said, citing spokesman Hashem Ali.

"The chief of the transitional military council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has accepted the resignation of. the chief of NISS", the transitional military council said.

The US called on Sudan's military to bring civilians into the transitional government and said a two-year timeline was too long.

Ibn Auf was replaced by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who was sworn in as transitional ruler on Friday evening.

During the Darfur conflict, he was head of military intelligence.

Who is in charge now?

Sara Abdeljalil, a member of the Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA) which has spearheaded the protests, said on Thursday that the new military council was a "continuation of the same regime". He is little known in public life. He was the head of Sudan's ground forces, a role in which he oversaw Sudanese troops that fought in the Saudi-led Yemen war. "Their ability to project influence in an organized way inside the state appears weak", said Sudanese analyst Khalid al-Tijani.

Bachelet says: "The crisis in Sudan has its roots in human rights grievances - economic, social, civil and political rights".

Other Sudanese civil society groups are calling for stronger worldwide support to sideline the military and install a civilian-led transition in Sudan.

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Meanwhile, Mr Zein Abedeen sought to reassure protesters who, while celebrating al-Bashir's removal, oppose the military's seizure of power in his wake. "We will not dictate anything to the people".

"At the same time, they don't want to do anything that would encourage other protests that would take their inspiration from recent events in Algeria and Sudan", he said.

"No party will be excluded from the political process, including armed groups", he told the council during a meeting on Abyei, a contested border region claimed by Sudan and South Sudan.

He promised people that the army will hand over to a democratic regime after a two-year transitional period.

But the generals warned they would not tolerate "chaos" and ruled out extraditing Bashir, the dictator they deposed in a coup on Thursday, to face charges of war crimes.

Yet Bashir, has warrants of arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on his head over genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He denies the allegations.

The Sudan Doctors Committee says at least 38 people, including six soldiers who intervened to protect the protesters, have been killed since the sit-ins began on April 6.

The foreign ministry expressed in a statement "full support" for the "brotherly" Sudanese people and their "loyal" army to "overcome the challenges of this critical order to achieve stability, prosperity and development".

Analysts said that Bashir's overthrow in a palace coup made the transition to democracy in Sudan a more distant prospect.

But when Bashir's overthrow was finally announced on Thursday in an address to the nation by Ibn Ouf, it was met not with joy but anger.

What will happen to Bashir?

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