Sudan’s Ibn Auf steps down after deadly protests against military rule

Sudanese Defense Minister General Awad Ibn Auf has resigned as the head of the country’s ruling military council after tens of thousands of people took part in deadly rallies to demand a civilian-led transition of power.

The top general, who had led the coup that ousted long-serving Omar al-Bashir, made the announcement in a speech broadcast live on state television.

“I, the head of the military council, announce I am giving up the post,” Ibn Auf said on Friday, one day after he was sworn in as the head of a transitional military council.

“This is for the benefit of our nation, without having to look at special interests, big or small that may impede its progress,” he said in a brief statement.”I would like to recommend that you work together and reach a solution very speedily.” 

He also named Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan, Bashir’s Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces, as his successor.

On Bashir’s status, it is now clear that he is under arrest but the military hierarchy has dismissed categorically any move to extradite him to face international criminal charges at The Hague.

Protesters in Khartoum greeted the move with “ululations and cheers”, media reports said.

“People are celebrating on the streets; they are saying that they managed to topple President Omar al-Bashir after four months of protests and less than 48 hours after the military council took over, they managed to bring down Ibn Auf, too,” Al Jazeera reported.

PressTV-Sudan army takes over amid growing calls for civilian rule

Auf was sworn in as the chief of the new military council on Thursday. He declared a three-month state of emergency and imposed a one-month curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

In reaction, the people who had packed the streets of Khartoum to celebrate Bashir’s removal after months of demonstrations, returned to the streets – this time to demand a civilian government.

However, media reports suggest that the transitional government’s crackdown on the protests and sit-ins on Thursday and Friday has resulted in the deaths of at least 16 people and injuries of 20 others.

According to a statement by a Sudanese police spokesman released early on Saturday, these people were killed or wounded by stray bullets fired at these gatherings.

Government buildings and private property were also attacked, spokesman Hashem Ali added.

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