Sudanese protesters on Sunday demanded the country’s military rulers “immediately” hand power over to a civilian government that should then bring ousted leader Omar al-Bashir to justice.
Thousands remained encamped outside Khartoum’s army headquarters to keep up pressure on a military council that took power after ousting Bashir on Thursday.
The organisation which spearheaded the protests against Bashir, the Sudanese Professionals Association, called on the council “to immediately transfer power to a civilian government”.
The SPA also demanded the next “transitional government and the armed forces bring Bashir and all the chiefs of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS)… to justice”.
“The Sudanese Professionals Association calls on its supporters to continue with the sit-in until the revolution achieves its demands,” it added.
The military council later held a press conference at which its spokesman did not respond to the protesters’ latest demands. Instead it announced the appointment of a new intelligence chief.
Earlier the military council met with political parties and urged them to agree on an “independent figure” to be prime minister, an AFP correspondent present at the meeting said.
“We want to set up a civilian state based on freedom, justice and democracy,” a council member, Lieutenant General Yasser al-Ata, told several political parties, urging them to agree on the figures to sit in civilian government.
The protesters have insisted civilian representatives must join the military council.
A 10-member delegation representing the protesters delivered their demands during talks with the council late Saturday, according to a statement by the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella group spearheading the rallies.
The foreign ministry urged the international community to back the military council “to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition”.
It said council chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan was “committed to having a complete civilian government and the role of the council will be to maintain the sovereignty of the country”.
Talks between protest leaders and Sudan’s new rulers were followed Sunday by a meeting between Washington’s top envoy to Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, and the military council’s deputy.
Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, widely known as Himeidti, told Koutsis “about the measures taken by the military council to preserve the security and stability of the country,” the official SUNA news agency reported.
Himeidti is a field commander for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) counter-insurgency unit, which rights groups have accused of abuses in the war-torn Darfur region.
Burhan talks the talk
On Saturday, the military council’s new chief General Burhan vowed to dismantle Bashir’s regime, lifting a night-time curfew with immediate effect.
He also pledged that individuals implicated in killing protesters would face justice and that protesters detained under a state of emergency imposed by Bashir during his final weeks in power would be freed.
Burhan took the oath of office on Friday after his predecessor General Awad Ibn Ouf stepped down little more than 24 hours after Bashir’s ouster.
Tens of thousands of people have massed non-stop outside the army headquarters since April 6, initially to urge the military to back their demand that Bashir be removed.
Burhan comes with less baggage from Bashir’s deeply unpopular rule than Ibn Ouf, a former defence minister and long-time close aide of the deposed president.
But while celebrating the fall of both men in quick succession, protesters remain cautious.
Protest leaders say their demands include restructuring the country’s feared NISS agency, whose chief Salih Ghosh resigned on Saturday.
On Sunday night, the council announced the appointment of Lieutenant General Abu Baker Mustafa as the new head of NISS in a televised announcement in which it also announced the sacking of Khartoum’s envoy to Washington.
Gulf states voice support
The newly formed 10-member transitional council contains several faces from Bashir’s regime.
On Saturday evening, the new military ruler named NISS deputy head Jalaluddin Sheikh to the council, with Himeidti as its deputy head.
“Himeidti was part of the crimes that happened previously, but at least now he is on the side of the people,” said Mohamed, a protester outside the army headquarters who gave only his first name for security reasons.
Key regional power-brokers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have voiced support for the transitional council.
Burhan’s nomination “reflects the ambitions of the brotherly people of Sudan for security, stability and development”, UAE state news agency WAM said.
Saudi Arabia has promised an aid package, the Saudi Press Agency reported Saturday.
Sudan is part of a UAE and Saudi-led military coalition fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen.
Sudan gets new defence minister
Maj. Gen Yassin Ibrahim, 62, was sworn in Tuesday before Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, a statement from the council said.
Sudan has sworn in new defence minister, Maj. Gen Yassin Ibrahim, two months after the death of the former defence chief, General Jamal al-Din Omar who died while in neighbouring South Sudan for peace talks with the country’s main rebel groups.
Ibrahim, 62, was sworn in Tuesday before Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, a statement from the council.
The new defence chief came out of retirement to take the position.
His appointment comes a year after long-time autocrat Omar Bashir was toppled in mass protests in April 2019.
“We will work side by side doing our best… to achieve the goals of the constitutional declaration,” the official SUNA news agency quoted Ibrahim as saying after he was sworn in.
The swearing-in came amid tensions with neighbouring Ethiopia over a cross-border attack allegedly conducted by a militia backed by Ethiopia’s military.
Since August last year a transitional government, comprised of civilians and military officials, has taken over the reins of power in Sudan after political factions adopted a constitutional declaration.
The declaration paved the way for the new government to steer the country to civilian rule during a three-year transition.
But the transition has been fragile with the government facing major challenges, including soaring inflation, a huge public debt, tribal clashes and efforts to forge peace with rebels.
Tunisia to reopen borders, airspace on June 27
Tunisian Prime Minister, Elyes Fakhfakh also said Tunisian nationals abroad will be repatriated from June 4.
Tunisian Prime Minister, Elyes Fakhfakh has announced that the country will reopen its land, air and sea borders from June 27.
He also said Tunisian nationals abroad will be repatriated from June 4.
Fakhfakh made the announcement after a meeting with the national commission to combat coronavirus on Monday.
Tunisia has reported 1,084 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, a Xinxua news agency report said.
The North African country has received support from various countries including China.
On April 16, China donated a batch of medical aid to Tunisia’s Ministry of National Defense, including facemasks, test kits and medical protective googles.
Egypt, France plan to end terrorism in Libya
Both countries showed support for international endeavors as well as implementing the results of the Berlin process to end the conflict in Libya.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have discussed the development of several regional issues, including the situation in Libya.
During a phone call on Saturday, Macron said he is keen to exchange views with Sisi over these issues as Cairo plays a key political role in the region, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.
For his part, Sisi affirmed Egypt’s firm position towards the Libyan crisis based on restoring Libyan national state institutions, ending the spread of criminal groups and terrorist militias.
He added that Egypt also gives top priority to combating terrorism, achieving stability and security and putting an end to illegal foreign interventions in Libya, a Xinhua news agency report said.
The two presidents agreed to intensify their coordination in the coming period, stressing the necessity to end the Libyan crisis by reaching a political solution that paves the way for the return of security and stability in the country, the spokesman said.
They showed support for international endeavors as well as implementing the results of the Berlin process to end the conflict in Libya.
Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The Libyan conflict escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.
While Egypt supports Haftar’s LNA that seeks to take over Tripoli, Turkey backs the Tripoli-based GNA.