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Sudan coup: Military leader vows to ‘uproot regime’

Sudan military council leader Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan pledged to restructure the country.Image copyright
AFP/HO/SUDAN TV

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Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan adopted a more conciliatory tone on TV

The leader of Sudan’s interim military council has vowed to “uproot the regime” two days after a military coup.

Speaking on TV, Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan announced the restructuring of state institutions, the end of a night curfew and the release of political prisoners.

Protests continue despite the ousting of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.

Demonstrators have demanded an immediate move to civilian rule and vow to stay in the streets.

Using a more conciliatory tone, Gen Burhan also dissolved all provincial governments and pledged respect for human rights.

The army would maintain “peace, order and security” across Sudan during an already announced transition period. It would last at most two years, he said, until elections could be held and civilian rule introduced.

He also called on the opposition to “help us restore normal life”, promised to try those who killed demonstrators, and vowed a war on corruption.

  • Sudan unrest: The key questions
  • Bashir ousted: How Sudan got here

The speech followed the resignation of feared security chief Gen Salah Gosh hours after the coup leader himself, Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf, stepped aside.

No official reason has been given for either departure.

What has the opposition said?

Privately-owned Sudan News 365 reports that opposition leaders are meeting with the military to discuss “transitional arrangements”.

The Sudan Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the demonstrations, has called on the armed forces to “ensure the immediate transfer of power to a transitional civilian government.”

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EPA

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Sudanese people have been demonstrating for weeks

Omar el-Digeir, leader of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, said the military should not be “the sole custodians of power”.

A growing economic crisis has gripped the country since the oil-rich southern part split away in 2011, and Thursday’s coup followed months of unrest over rising prices.

How did we get here?

When Mr Bashir was removed, he was replaced by a military council led by Mr Ibn Auf.

But demonstrators camping out outside army headquarters in Khartoum refused to disperse, rejecting Mr Ibn Auf as an ally of Mr Bashir.

On Friday the new leader announced he was resigning and being replaced by Gen Burhan, who is seen as a less controversial figure.

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AFP

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The new military leader, Lt-Gen Burhan, could be seen talking to demonstrators on Friday

Protestors have called for the abolition of “arbitrary decisions by leaders that do not represent the people” and the detention of “all symbols of the former regime who were involved in crimes against the people”.

“Until these demands are fully met, we must continue with our sit-in at the General Command of the Armed Forces,” the SPA said.

On Saturday, Sudanese TV reported the resignation of Gen Gosh, head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) which has powerful forces within the capital.

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AFP

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Gen Salah Gosh seen here in 2010

The general has been a key ally of Mr Bashir since the early 1990s and is among 17 Sudanese officials indicted for genocide, human right abuses and war crimes in the Darfur region by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009.

The NISS has extensive powers and influence, supervising the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

At least 16 people have been killed by stray bullets at the protests since Thursday, police say.

Momentum with the protesters

By Catherine Byaruhanga, BBC reporter

The momentum is clearly with the protesters. They have forced out two powerful generals in just a matter of days. NISS, which Gen Gosh headed, exemplified the ruthlessness of security forces under Mr Bashir’s regime.

There is however anger that Gen Gosh is not being arrested for alleged human rights abuses. The SPA has called for the disbandment of NISS.

And interestingly soon after Gen Gosh’s resignation was announced, the SPA released the names of its negotiating team. In the past they said they would not publish any names for fear they would be targeted. The fact that they can do so now suggests there could be room for talks with the military council.

But in his first address Gen Burhan insisted the council would govern for two years. This idea has been rejected by opposition groups who demand a civilian transitional government. They have asked for demonstrations to continue until this happens.

What will happen to Bashir?

He has also been indicted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

But the military council has said it will not extradite Mr Bashir, who denies the charges, although he may be put on trial in Sudan.

  • What next for Sudan’s ‘master manipulator’?

Mr Ibn Auf was head of military intelligence during the Darfur conflict and the US imposed sanctions on him in 2007.