AFRICANGLOBE – Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the TMC, received phone calls from the Saudi king, UAE president, Qatari emir, Ethiopian prime minister and South Sudanese president, SUNA said on Monday. They expressed support for the TMC in “this delicate and historic stage” and their concern for the security and stability of the country, SUNA said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for “a rapid transfer of power to a civilian transitional government.” in a phone call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“This must be followed by a credible, inclusive political process that meets the expectations of the Sudanese people with regard to economic and political reforms,” her office said in a statement.
Sisi meanwhile reiterated Egypt’s support for “the brotherly Sudanese people’s will” and said Cairo would “not interfere in its internal affairs”, according to a presidential statement.
AU Issues Ultimatum To Sudan Military
In a communique on Monday, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council called for Sudan’s military to transfer power to a “transitional civilian-led political authority” within 15 days or face suspension from the AU.
Lieutenant General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh, a member of the TMC, met Ethiopia’s prime minister in Addis Ababa, where the AU is based, and said, “We are already in the process of choosing a prime minister” for a civilian government, according to the Sudanese state news agency SUNA.
“So we are initiating this even before having this session with the African Union. This is our conviction and this is also the way forward to peace, but also, we respect it and we are committed to the decision of the Peace and Security Council.”
SPA Makes Demands
The Sudanese group that led protests against deposed President Omar al-Bashir called on Monday for the transitional military council that has taken power to be disbanded and for a new interim civilian ruling council to be formed.
Representatives of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) piled pressure on the military commanders who have taken over, issuing a long list of demands for deeper and faster change to end repression and a ruinous economic crisis.
If their demands were not met, the group would press on with protests and not join a future transitional government, Ahmed al-Rabie, an SPA member, told reporters.
The SPA held its first news conference since Bashir, who ruled with an autocratic hand since seizing power in a coup 30 years ago, was ousted by the military on Thursday following months of street demonstrations.
A new interim civilian body should be given full executive powers, with the armed forces having representation, and the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took over last week should be dissolved, the SPA said.
“If our demand for the formation of a civilian transitional council with military representation is not met, we will not be part of the executive authority, the cabinet, and we will continue the mass escalation and the sit-ins to fulfil our demands,” Rabie told reporters.
SPA representatives also renewed calls for the head of the judiciary and his deputies and public prosecutor to be removed. They demanded the dissolution of Bashir’s National Congress Party and said they received affirmation from the TMC that the party will not participate in a transitional government.
The SPA also called for the seizure of the party’s assets and the arrest of its prominent figures.
It demanded the dissolution of paramilitary groups that were loyal to the old government, and of the National Intelligence and Security Service’s (NISS>) operations authority, and called for an end to Sudan’s press law and the public order law, which the SPA has said restricts freedoms.
Protesters Assured Of Security, Ex-Govt Members Arrested
Some members of the erstwhile government have been arrested by the transitional military council, reports from the country has suggested as at Monday morning.
There has been no mention of the reasons why they were picked up and who exactly had been picked. Ousted Omar al-Bashir is currently in detention and is likely to face trial in Sudan.
Protesters who are holding an adamant sit-in entering two-weeks have also been assured of security by the military. As of Monday morning, protesters have block efforts by soldiers to remove road blocks according to reports.
The sit-in at the army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, was the last straw that forced the military to oust President Omar al-Bashir last week.
Protesters have refused to leave until the military hands over power to a civilian-led transition team. The military high command has offered the protest leaders the opportunity to name a prime minister.
Protesters To Pick Prime Minister
The military council in charge of Sudan has asked activists to nominate an independent candidate for the position of Prime Minister in the transitional government.
On day two of military – protester groups talks, the military said it was only interested in two security related portfolios.
“He said the military council only wants two positions, the defence and interior ministries. That’s because, in his words, they want to maintain order and security in the country.”
There were some disagreements among political parties in the duration and the shape that some of the measures expected to be undertaken.
Sudan’s New Transition Leader
Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman is a military commander believed to be more ready to talk to the protesters.
He was the third most senior general in the Sudanese armed forces and is little known in public life. As head of Sudan’s ground forces he oversaw Sudanese troops fighting in the Saudi-led Yemen war and has close ties to senior Gulf military officials.
In his first televised address, Burhan said he was also canceling a night curfew ordered by his predecessor and ordered the release of all prisoners jailed under emergency laws put in place by ousted President Omar al-Bashir.
A coalition of groups leading the protests said it had accepted an invitation by the armed forces to meet on Saturday to discuss a new civilian government.
The main protest organiser had earlier on Saturday urged people to keep marching to demand a civilian government after the defence minister and the intelligence chief stepped down.
Intelligence Chief Resigns
Sudan’s security and intelligence chief quit on Saturday, state media reported, a day after the defence minister stepped down abruptly as interim leader following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir and protesters kept up demands for change.
Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, known as Salah Gosh, who headed the National Intelligence and Security Service and was once the most influential person in the country after Bashir, was held responsible by protesters for the killing of demonstrators demanding an end to military rule.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been leading protests to demand a civilian government, called for more demonstrations on Saturday.
“Today, we continue the march to finish the victory for our victorious revolution,” the SPA said in a statement.
“We assert that our revolution is continuing and will not retreat or deviate from its path until we achieve … our people’s legitimate demands of handing over power to a civilian government,” it said.
Defence Minister Resigns
Sudan’s defence minister stepped down abruptly on Friday as head of the country’s transitional ruling military council after only a day in the post, as protesters demanded quicker political change following President Omar al-Bashir’s ouster by the armed forces.
Hours after the military council sought to calm public anger by promising a new civilian government, Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf said in a televised speech he was quitting as head of the council.
Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman will be the new head of the council, Ibn Auf said. He also said Chief of Staff Kamal Abdelmarouf al-Mahi was relieved of his position as deputy head of the transitional military council.
“In order to ensure the cohesion of the security system, and the armed forces in particular, from cracks and strife, and relying on God, let us begin this path of change,” Ibn Auf said.
News of the change sparked joyful celebrations by many thousands in the streets of Khartoum as people chanted, “The second has fallen!” in reference to Bashir, witnesses said.
“What happened is a step in the right direction and is a bow to the will of the masses, and we have become closer to victory,” Rashid Saeed, a spokesman for the main protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), told reporters.
“We are committed to our demands that we submitted to the army,” he said. “We call on the masses to stay on the streets until all the demands are met.”
‘Protesters, Not Army Have Solutions’
Abideen pledged that the military council would not interfere with the civilian government. However he said the defence and interior ministries would be under the council’s control.
He said the military council had no solutions to Sudan’s crisis and these would come from the protesters.
“We are the protectors of the demands of the people,” he said. “We are not greedy for power.”
Earlier on Friday, thousands of Sudanese demonstrators camped outside the defence ministry to push for a civilian government, defying a curfew and calling for mass prayers.
Demonstrators who have been holding almost daily anti-Bashir protests have rejected the decision to set up a transitional military council and vowed to continue protests until a civilian government is established.
Activists called for mass Friday prayers outside the defence ministry compound, a focal point for protests.
At the compound, large tents were put up and people brought in food and handed out water as the crowd swelled, a witness said. Ahmed al-Sadek, a 39-year-old trader, said he had not slept at his home since the sit-in began on Saturday.
Activists controlled traffic around the compound on Friday morning and managed foot traffic to and from the sit-in, a witness said. They also blocked a major bridge in central Khartoum.
Bashir, 75, had faced 16 weeks of demonstrations against him.