The president in Sudan was overthrown by the army – and now? The international community is calling for the transfer of power to civilians.
The military has taken power – will it hand it back? Photo: ap
After the fall of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the international community is urging the new military leadership to quickly hand over power to civilians. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini said Thursday evening that only a "credible" political process could meet the expectations of the Sudanese people. To that end, she said, power must be transferred quickly to a transitional civilian government.
The U.S. State Department called on the military council in Sudan to allow civilians to participate in government. The Sudanese people have clearly expressed that they want a civilian-led political transition, a department spokesman in Washington said.
Accordingly, the U.S. put on hold talks with Khartoum on whether to remove Sudan from a list of states accused of supporting terrorism.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed the expectation "that the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people will be realized through an appropriate and inclusive transition process." Guterres called on all parties to exercise "calm and utmost restraint" , his spokesman said in New York. The UN Security Council is expected to address the situation in Sudan on Friday.
Leaders of the anti-Bashir protests in Sudan also rejected the "military coup" and called for further demonstrations. They are calling for a civilian council instead of a military council. "The blood of our brothers must not be shed in vain," one protester in the capital Khartoum told the AFP news agency.
"Peace, justice, freedom"
Despite an overnight curfew, thousands of protesters gathered outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, chanting slogans such as "peace, justice, freedom," eyewitnesses said.
Head of state Bashir, who has ruled authoritatively for three decades, was ousted by the military on Thursday after months of mass popular protests. However, a military council was then appointed for a transitional period of two years. Defense Minister Awad Ibn Ouf was sworn in at its head on Thursday evening. Chief of General Staff Kamal Abdelmaruf was appointed as his deputy, state television reported.
The month-long night curfew announced by Ibn Ouf is in effect from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.. It is apparently aimed primarily at the demonstrators who have held out every night since Saturday in front of the army headquarters in order to win the military over to their side.
Bashir seized power with the help of Islamists in 1989. Since then, he has ruled the East African country with a hard hand. For years, he has been the subject of an international arrest warrant for genocide. According to UN figures, 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict between the government and rebels in Darfur province since 2003.
The human rights organization Amnesty International called for Bashir to be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bashir must finally be held accountable for "some of the most heinous human rights abuses of our time," Amnesty Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said.