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Daily Trends Now

In Post-Coup Sudan, Calls for Civilian Rule Grow Louder

In Post-Coup Sudan, Calls for Civilian Rule Grow Louder

Sudan's defence minister says on TV he's stepping down as transitional leader a day after ousting the country's embattled autocratic president, President Omar al-Bashir.

The military wants to hold power for two years, followed by elections.

The Sudanese army has promised to provide a "completely civilian" government after deposing former President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan's protests began in December, sparked by high food prices, but quickly escalated into an uprising against Bashir, who seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1989. He did not explain his reasons for the resignation but promptly named another general, Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan Abdel-Rahman, as his replacement.

The shake-up at the top comes as Sudanese civilians protest against the army rulers who took control after toppling president Omar al Bashir.

Protest organisers had earlier on Saturday urged people to keep marching to demand a civilian government after the defense minister and the intelligence chief stepped down.

"We call on the armed forces to ensure the immediate transfer of power to a transitional civilian government", the Sudan Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the demonstrations, said on Facebook.

Zein Abedeen said Sudanese courts would hold Bashir "accountable", but did not specify what charges he could face. China said it would continue to seek cooperation with Sudan regardless of the political situation.

Mr Ibn Auf's military career enabled him to benefit lucratively from the state budget's generous allocations for defence, a policy that protesters credit for squandering the country's wealth.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese protesters have been rallying in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum, against the military takeover of power after ousting longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir on Thursday.

At least 13 people were shot dead on Thursday while another three people were killed on Friday, activists from the Sudan Doctors Committee said, claiming that the victims died "at the hands of regime forces and its shadow militias".

But he said the council would never extradite him, or any other Sudanese, despite a long-standing arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Bashir on charges of genocide and war crimes.

"The basic desire of the people of Sudan is the establishment of peace and stability in the country and the adoption of measures which would enable overcoming the economic difficulties", it said, adding that Sudan's security and stability are crucial for the region. He also vowed to "uproot the regime" of Bashir and its symbols.

Large crowds have remained on the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, ignoring a night-time curfew declared by the country's new military council. People chanted: "The second has fallen!" a reference to Ibn Auf and Bashir, witnesses said.

Sudan's feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) said it was freeing all the country's political prisoners, state media reported.

"We do not reject a military council in principle, but we reject these people because they are from Bashir's regime", said Abdelhamid Ahmed, a 24-year-old doctor.

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

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that a two-year transition overseen by the military "is not the answer".


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