African Union presses Sudan’s army to transfer power in 15 days

Sudanese demonstrators protest outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 14, 2019.

Online Agencies
The African Union warned Sudan’s military to transfer power to civilian authorities within 15 days, or risk losing membership in the bloc.
AU’s Peace and Security Council said in a statement Monday that Sudan must aim to hold “free, fair and transparent elections” as soon as possible.
“A military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan,” added the official statement.
Ever since autocratic President Omar al-Bashir was removed by the military last week and replaced with the Military Transitional Council (MTC), protesters have continued to demand faster political change and an immediate civilian government. They reject the MTC proposal that the military rules for two year before elections are held.
“The Transitional Military Council has met many demands of the protesters, but some of the demands of the protesters need time to answer,” said General Jalal Eldin Alshaik, an MTC member after meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the first foreign leader to meet with the council.
The general also said that the protesters would not be dispersed. According to Sudanese police, at least 16 people were killed during protests on April 11 and 12 in the immediate timeframe after Bashir was removed from power.
The decision to extradite Bashir to The Hague to face justice for war crimes will be made “by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council,” said Alshaik.
The MTC previously had said that Bashir would not be handed over to International Criminal Court (ICC) that accused him in 2009 of war crimes including, ethnic cleansing, in the country’s Darfur region.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) Monday reiterated its demand for a civilian government that will have “limited” army representation as they fear that Bashir’s core of old guard is far from gone.
They also demand the dismissal of Sudan’s prosecutor general and judiciary head, as well as the dissolving Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP), which has already been allowed to compete in presidential elections by the MTC.
“The objectives of the revolution cannot be achieved totally and completely in the face of the backstage manipulations by the remnants of the regime,” SPA member, Taha Osman, told reporters.
According to Osman, a civil council is necessary in order to safeguard the revolution and meeting of all goals put forward by the protesters.
On April 11, after ruling the country since 1989, Omar al-Bashir was ousted and arrested by the army. His downfall came after four months of nation-wide protests which witnessed deaths and imprisonment of demonstrators.
After the coup, the former Defense Minister Lieutenant General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf announced the establishment of a two-year transitional military council of which he was sworn in as head.
Protesters did not accept this as Ibn Auf is seen as a Bashir loyalist.
A curfew and three months emergency period was announced that thousands of protestors defied. Ibn Auf stepped down within hours of taking power and Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan replaced him. The curfew was lifted and negotiations started between the council and organizers of protests.
Protest to continue for a civil government Sudan’s protesters said Sunday they will be continuing to demonstrate until their demand of creating a civilian government is met.
The protest organizations are in dialogue with the new military rulers of the country after former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted and arrested by the army.
A statement by the Alliance for Freedom and Change, an umbrella group of protest organizations said its 10-member delegation team submitted a list of demands Saturday which includes restructuring the country’s feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) called for the establishment of a transitional council which would be protected by the armed forces, adding it would exert “all forms of peaceful pressure to achieve the objectives of the revolution.”
Sudanese Defense Minister Mohammed Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf was supposed to lead the Military Transitional Council (MTC) that is supposed to run the country for up to two years until new presidential elections are had.
Just a day after overthrowing former president Omar al-Bashir who was in power since 1989, Ibn Auf stepped down as the council leader. Protesters said Ibn Auf is too close to the now former regime.
Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman called a meeting Sunday which was largely attended by unknown politicians and parliamentarians who are known to be loyal to Bashir’s party, a Reuters witness said.
It did not include SPA and the other main opposition parties, which together make up a group known as the Forces for Freedom and Change.
“We were not invited to this meeting … we will submit our suggestions for the government to the military council,” a spokesman for SPA told Reuters.
The protesters later accepted Burhan as the temporary leader of the military council as he had met with them during the start of the protests four months ago. Burhan said the future peace talks would include “all the people of Sudan, including political parties and civil society groups”.
However, thousands of people are encamped outside the headquarters to keep the pressure on the military council.
“We will continue … our sit-in until all our demands are met,” one of the alliance’s leaders, Omer Eldigair, said.
“We surely want our demands to be met, but both sides will have to be flexible to reach a deal,” said a protester.
Burhan pledged that people responsible for killing protestors will be brought to justice and all imprisoned protesters would be freed.
Key Sudan allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates issued statements in favor of the military council.
Saudi Arabia said the military council “stands by the Sudanese people” and urged them “to give priority to the national interest” of their country.
UAE said it welcomes Burhan’s position as head of the transitional military council.

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