Sudan leaders face pressure for transfer to civilian rule

Nellie Chapman
April 16, 2019

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) has threatened to suspend Sudan in the wake of last week's coup, calling on the military to hand over power to a transitional civilian-led political authority.

"The decision whether to extradite Bashir to ICC will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council", he said.

The body, which has 55 member states, added that "a military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan".

"If our demand for the formation of a civilian transitional council with military representation is not met, we will not be part of the executive authority, the cabinet, and we will continue the mass escalation and the sit-ins to fulfill our demands", SPA member Ahmed Al-Rabie said. "We hope that everyone will head immediately to the areas of the sit-in to protect your revolution and your accomplishments", the SPA said.

Since then the head of the military council and of Sudan's powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) have both been replaced, as protesters have continued to call for change.

The protest outside the compound, which also includes the intelligence headquarters and the presidential residence, began on 6 April, after more than three months of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.

The re-instatement of the country's 2005 constitution, which the military council suspended shortly after ousting Bashir.

The council has pledged a two-year transition period and also said it would not send Bashir or any other Sudanese citizen to the ICC.

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"This must be done credibly and swiftly, with protest leaders, political opposition, civil society organisations, and all relevant elements of society, including women, who are willing to participate".

The Sudanese Professionals Association did not say who was attempting to break up the crowd, but witnesses said several army vehicles had surrounded the area.

A 10-member delegation representing the protesters delivered a list of demands during talks with the council late Saturday, according to a statement by the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella group. But in a press conference, the council's spokesman did not respond to the protesters' latest demands.

On Saturday, Burhan vowed to dismantle Bashir's regime, lifting a night-time curfew with immediate effect.

British ambassador Irfan Siddiq met with Himeidti "not to endorse or confer legitimacy" to the transitional military council, Siddiq said on Twitter, "but to stress steps United Kingdom wants to see taken to improve situation in Sudan".

Al-Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist coup in 1989, imposed a nationwide state of emergency February 22 in an attempt to suppress the protests after an initial crackdown failed.

The dissolution of Bashir's National Congress Party, with its top leaders brought to justice - including the ousted president.

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