Sudan military council: We have no ambition to cling to power

Moussa Faki

As protesters continued a sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary organisation that had always been considered loyal to Bashir and the government, "apologised" in a statement for having participated in the military council at the beginning.

Speaking on state TV, Awad Ibn Ouf said the army had made a decision to oversee a two-year transitional period followed by elections.

Sudanese Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf appointed on Friday the Army Chief of Staff Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan as the new head of a transitional military council, local media reported.

Speaking at a press conference aired live on state TV and flanked by other uniformed officers, Zein Abedeen insisted the army has no ambition to hold the reins of power for long.

Youssef pointed out that there was no legal basis for forming a military council and called on all political forces, and the army to reach agreement on the formation of a government.

He said al-Bashir was in custody but declined to provide more details. He also confirmed that top government members, including the vice-president and al-Bashir's associates, are under arrest but didn't give any names.

Protest leaders dismissed the transitional military council as the "same old faces" from the old regime, which had led the country into multiple conflicts and worsening poverty and social inequality.

Sudan has seen months of protests that erupted in the country in December. Organizers said they would keep up the campaign and that they disagree with the army's plans to rule the country for the next two years.

Ibn Ouf was sworn in as de facto ruler late Thursday after leading the ouster of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir following months of protests.

Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague and is facing an arrest warrant over allegations of genocide in Sudan's Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to the death of an estimated 300,000 people.

"The United States position is the Sudanese people should be allowed to do so sooner than two years from now", he said.

Naidoo said: "On this historic day for Sudan, the world must first and foremost recognize the unique courage, creativity and bravery Sudanese people have shown in demanding their rights".

Ibn Auf said on Thursday that Bashir was being detained in a "safe place" and a military council - which it was later announced he is heading - would now run the country. He declared a three-month state of emergency, the suspension of the constitution and the dissolution of parliament.

Al-Bashir came to power on the back of a 1989 military coup against the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. Mohammed Hamadati, the commander, said talks are needed so Sudan would "avoid slipping into chaos".

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