AFRICANGLOBE – Violence flared in Sudan’s capital Khartoum after the military council and opposition groups agreed to a power structure for the country’s transition following the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir last month.
Heavy gunfire was heard late into the evening and the council said a military police officer was killed and protesters wounded. Local doctors said some were in a serious condition.
The council accused armed groups unhappy with progress to a political deal of opening fire at protest sites. Protesters said counter-revolutionaries linked to the former regime were inciting violence.
Earlier, paramilitary forces patrolled streets, using teargas and gunshots to disrupt protests blocking roads.
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces opposition alliance were due to meet on Tuesday to discuss two key points of dissent: the military-civilian balance of power in transitional bodies and the length of the transition before elections.
Protesters are pushing for a civilian-led transition and have kept up demonstrations against the council since military officers removed and arrested Bashir, now facing multiple criminal investigations.
On Monday, police and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) dismantled barricades and dispersed about 100 protesters blocking the centre of the capital.
For a second day demonstrators blocked Nile Street, a major artery south of the Blue Nile, putting burning branches and stones across the road, as well as other streets north and south of the river.
Later, RSF men used gunfire to disperse protesters next to Blue Nile bridge and teargas was fired near Jumhuriya Street south of the river, where the RSF were seen beating a rickshaw driver as they patrolled armed with sticks and guns, witnesses said.
Protesters demanding a swift handover of power to civilians have been camped at a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry compound in central Khartoum since April 6, as the military negotiates with the opposition alliance about the transition.
Talks resumed on Monday and both sides said they agreed on the duties and authorities of sovereign, executive and legislative bodies.
“We discussed the structure of the transitional authority and agreed on it completely and we also agreed on the system of governance in the transitional period,” said TMC spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi.
“We will continue tomorrow with talks on the ratio of participation on the sovereign level and the length of the transitional period,” he said. “God willing, we will agree on these two points.”
The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which leads the opposition alliance, accuses the TMC of expanding its powers as transition talks stall, threatening a civil disobedience campaign to up pressure on the military.
“The situation now on public roads, bridges and in neighbourhoods expresses popular discontent with procrastination and the consumption of time by the military council,” the SPA said.
The TMC is not seeking power and is open to further dialogue. General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, head of the RSF and deputy head of the TMC, told a military meeting the armed forces and RSF were working to protect “security and stability” in Sudan.
Also on Monday, Sudan’s public prosecution said it charged Bashir and others with incitement and involvement in killing protesters.
Earlier this month, the public prosecutor ordered Bashir interrogated on charges of money laundering and financing terrorism. There has been no comment from Bashir, allegedly in prison in Khartoum.