Sunday 23 February 2020

Military takes over Sudan, President Bashir under arrest

KHARTOUM, April 11, 2019

Sudan’s military on Thursday took over the reins of the oil-rich North African country from President Omar Al Bashir in a coup and arrested him.

In an address on state television, Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, announced a two-year period of military rule to be followed by presidential elections, reported Reuters.

He said Bashir, 75, was being held in a “safe place” and a military council would now run the country. He did not say who would head it.

Announcing a state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the constitution, Auf said Sudan’s airspace would be closed for 24 hours and border crossings shut until further notice.

Also several political prisoners have been released following thee coup. 

The main organizer of protests against Bashir, the Sudanese Professionals Association, rejected the minister’s plans. It called on protesters to maintain a sit-in outside the defense ministry that started on Saturday, a source with the group said.

Names of Bashir’s possible successors that have been circulating include the defense minister, an ex-military intelligence chief, also an Islamist, and former army chief of staff Emad Al Din Adawi.

Adawi is said to be favored by regional neighbours at odds with Bashir over his Islamist leanings.

The army’s ouster of al-Bashir came after four months of nationwide protests and ends the reign of one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, reported Bloomberg.

A supreme security council, made up of the intelligence, military, police and other branches, had been following the situation for some time, according to Ibn Auf. The president was warned, he said, but the presidency “kept repeating slogans and fake promises.”

The 75-year-old becomes the second regional leader after Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to leave this month in the face of nationwide protests, stirring echoes of the Arab Spring uprisings that rocked the region from 2011.

Sudanese sources told Reuters that Bashir was at the presidential residence under “heavy guard”. A son of Sadiq Al Mahdi, the head of the country’s main opposition Umma Party, told Al Hadath TV that Bashir was being held with “a number of leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group”.

Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague and is facing an arrest warrant over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to death of an estimated 300,000 people.

Thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the defence ministry on Thursday, while huge crowds took to the streets in central Khartoum, dancing and shouting anti-Bashir slogans. Protesters chanted: “It has fallen, we won.”

Demonstrators called for a civilian government and said they would not accept an administration led by military and security figures, or by Bashir’s aides.

Omar Saleh Sennar, a senior member of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, said it expected to negotiate with the military over a transfer of power.


More Miscellaneous Stories

calendarCalendar of Events