Sudan protesters ask army hand over immediately

African Union chief Moussa Faki

Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Auf is being sworn in as head of a new military council that will run the country for two years.

"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. In both countries, the military stage-managed the leaders' departure, in a likely attempt to preserve their power.

"The one, right now, announced that he's going to take over for two years, it won't [change] anything for Sudan and it won't be no change", said Atem.

Sudan's military ousted al-Bashir on Thursday in response to escalating popular protests.

"Moreover, the suspension of the constitution could be lifted at any point and the transitional period could be shortened depending on developments on the ground and agreements reached between stakeholders", the Sudanese envoy said.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for his deadly campaign against insurgents in Darfur.

He said the military council had no solutions to Sudan's crisis and these would come from the protesters.

The military council had announced a two-year transition period, but Sudan's United Nations envoy told the Security Council in NY that this could be shortened "depending on developments on the ground and agreements between stakeholders".

He said al-Bashir was in custody but declined to provide more details.

Protesters who were initially jubilant over word of the coup reacted by saying they will not end their almost week-long sit-in outside the military's headquarters in central Khartoum until a civilian transition government is formed.

Thousands kept up their sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum overnight and into Friday morning despite a curfew imposed by the army after it arrested al-Bashir. Tens of thousands beat drums, sang and chanted slogans against the armed forces and Ibn Ouf after nightfall.

Dozens of members of a paramilitary group stood at the sidelines, many atop pick-up vehicles loaded with machine-guns, as cheering crowds drove past, witnesses said.

Abideen pledged that the military council would not interfere with the civilian government.

"Today's events should also serve as a wake-up call to leaders around the world who think they can get away with denying people their basic rights".

Why now? Bashir was removed after months of anti-regime protests, with the military abandoning him and siding with those seeking his downfall. The defence minister announced military rule for two years, imposing an emergency clampdown that risks enflaming protesters who have demanded civilian democratic change. At least 38 people have died in the protests. SUNA said Ibn Ouf would meet with political factions and leaders of the protest movement later in the day.

He also said a three-month state of emergency was being put in place.



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