Sudanese President Bashir forced out in coup

IANS | April 11, 2019 07:12 PM

KHARTOUM:  Sudanese Army on Thursday removed President Omar al-Bashir from power after nearly 30 years, following widespread protests that escalated at the weekend, Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf said.

Speaking on state TV, Awad Ibn Ouf said the Army had decided to oversee a two-year transitional period followed by elections. He also said a three-month state of emergency was being put in place.

Protests against Bashir, who has governed Sudan since 1989, had been under way for several months. The Army recently clashed with government security forces during these protests.

The Minister said that Bashir had been arrested but was "in a safe place", the BBC reported.

"For a long time, examining what's going on in the state and the corruption that is going on," he said. "The poor are poorer and the rich are still rich and there are no equal chances for the same people."

Thousands of people had gathered outside Sudanese military headquarters in the capital Khartoum amid speculation that the embattled President would step down following rumours of a brewing military coup.

Sudan state TV announced in the early hours of the morning that the country's armed forces would make an official announcement fuelling talk of an imminent coup.

Demonstrations demanding al-Bashir's resignation began in December last year.

Early Thursday, rivers of protesters made their way on foot to central Khartoum from the suburbs and neighbouring cities like Omdurman and Khartoum North crossing the bridges over the Nile and the White Nile.

Before the announcement, there was a celebratory atmosphere at the protest as many people brought percussion instruments with them while images from the scene showed protesters and soldiers interacting jovially, Efe news reported.

The sit-in began on Saturday and was the scene of fatal clashes over the weekend as tensions grew between soldiers and members of the government's security apparatus, who had been ordered to clear the demonstration.

Sporadic gunfire was reported when soldiers moved to thwart the security services' operation to clear out protesters.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, an opposition union, said a total of 22 people have been killed since the sit-in protest began, including five soldiers.

Another 153 were injured, the committee said.

Al-Bashir has been in power for almost 30 years after he led a coup in the oil-rich country in 1989.

Since the country split with South Sudan in 2011, Sudan has been increasingly paralyzed by protests and instability, as well as a worsening economic crisis.

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