Sudanese march to mark 40 days of mourning for slain protesters

Nellie Chapman
July 14, 2019

Sudan's military rulers say they have foiled an attempted coup and arrested several security officers thought to have been involved in the abortive putsch.

"This is an attempt to block the agreement which has been reached by the Transitional Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change that aims to open the road for Sudanese people to achieve their demands", Omar said, referring to the leading protest coalition. Lt. Gen. Gamal Omar, a member of the military council, said in a statement that at least 16 active and retired military officers were arrested.

Omar said security forces were pursuing additional officers who took part in plotting the attempted coup.

Last week, the military and FDFC representatives announced that they had reached a power-sharing agreement amid robust African and worldwide pressure.

Later on Saturday the protest leaders and generals were scheduled to hold more talks on the finer details of the blueprint, mediators said, before it is formally signed in the coming days.

Saturday's marches come as the ruling military council and protest leaders are planning to sign a power-sharing agreement that includes a joint Sovereign Council set to rule for a little over three years, along with a constitutional declaration. Both sides say a diplomatic push by allies was key to ending a standoff that raised fears of civil war.

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The U.S. top negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad described the recent discussions as "the most productive session to date". Badghis Governor Abdul Ghafoor Malakzai gave a conflicting account, telling RFE/RL that there were four attackers.

"Counterrevolutionary forces represented in the old Islamist regime are very active now", she said.

Crowds of protesters were violently dispersed by men in military fatigues in a pre-dawn raid on a protest site outside the army headquarters on June 3, shooting and beating demonstrators who had camped there for weeks demanding a civilian rule.

Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC) on Saturday reiterated importance of partnership with the opposition Freedom and Change Alliance to end the political crisis in the country.

At least 11 people were killed in clashes with security forces, according to protest organizers. Authorities, however, put the death toll at 61, including three security force members.

The landmark agreement that aims to form a new joint transitional civilian-military ruling body was reached last week after mediation by African Union and Ethiopian envoys.

It was expected the final details of the power-sharing agreement would be announced on Thursday, but it's unclear whether that will now happen.

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