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Sudan Army Detains Bashir, Army to Take Over for Next 2 Years

Sudan Army Detains Bashir, Army to Take Over for Next 2 Years

Thursday, 11 April, 2019 - 11:30
Sudanese demonstrators wave their national flag as they arrive for a protest rally demanding Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to step down outside the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer
Asharq Al-Awsat
Sudan’s defense minister announced on state TV on Thursday that the military has arrested President Omar al-Bashir, saying he will be kept in a safe place.

The minister announced that the army would take over for the next two years to run the country in a transitional period at the end of which there would be elections.

Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf also said the constitution was suspended and borders closed.

Earlier, Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service announced the release of all political prisoners across the country after officials said al-Bashir had been forced to step down from the presidency after a three-decade rule.

Shortly after the announcement Thursday, Twitter users circulated photos showing former detainees being welcomed by protesters as they joined demonstrations against Bashir.

One of those released was Mohammed Naji Elasam, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the main organizer of protests being held across Sudan since December, witnesses said. Elasam had been detained for more than three months.

Sudanese protest organizers said, however, that they want a civilian transitional government in place after Bashir’s ouster.

The organizers said they are in discussions with the military's leadership about forming a transitional government.

Sarah Abdel-Jaleel, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, told The Associated Press they will not back a military coup and insist on an "unconditional stepping down of al-Bashir and his regime."

Security forces have responded to the protest movement with a fierce crackdown, killing dozens. al-Bashir banned unauthorized public gatherings and granted sweeping powers to the police since imposing a state of emergency last month. Security forces have used tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and batons against demonstrators.

The protests gained momentum last week after Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 20 years, resigned in response to weeks of similar protests.

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