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Military ousts Sudanese president

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 4/11/19, 11:50 am

The Sudanese military seized control on Thursday from President Omar al-Bashir in the culmination of anti-government protests that began in December 2018. In a broadcast address on state television, Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ibn Ouf confirmed that authorities held al-Bashir in a secure location. Dressed in military garb, Ibn Ouf said a transitional military council would rule the country for the next two years before “free and fair elections” take place. In the meantime, the military suspended the country’s constitution, shut down the borders and airspace, and declared a three-month state of emergency. All political detainees arrested since the protests began would also be freed, Ibn Ouf said.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese gathered in the center of the capital city of Khartoum, ahead of the announcement, waving flags, chanting, and clapping in celebration. The protests began after the government increased the price of basic amenities and quickly grew into calls for an end to al-Bashir’s three-decade rule. Over the weekend, thousands of demonstrators staged sit-ins outside the military headquarters, which also houses the Presidential Palace. At least 22 people died during clashes with security forces since Saturday.

Al-Bashir seized power in a 1989 military coup. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses in Darfur.

Similar protests in Algeria that began in February led to two-decade President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepping down last week.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which organized the protests, did not back the military takeover and called for the movement to continue until a civilian government is in place. “The Sudanese crisis is chronic and cannot be solved from the top-down,” the group told the CNN in a statement.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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