Sudan protesters hold prayers outside military headquarters in campaign for civilian rule

Sudanese protesters wave a national flag and chant slogans during an a sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 26 April 2019
0

Sudan protesters hold prayers outside military headquarters in campaign for civilian rule

KHARTOUM: Thousands of Sudanese protesters performed the weekly Muslim prayers outside army headquarters on Friday, a day after vast crowd of demonstrators flooded Khartoum to demand the military rulers cede power.
Protesters have massed outside the army complex in central Khartoum since April 6, initially to demand the overthrow of longtime leader Omar Al-Bashir.
But since his ouster by the army on April 11, the protesters have kept up their sit-in, demanding that the military council that took over hand power to a civilian administration.
Despite international support for the protesters, the 10-member council has so far resisted, although three of its members resigned on Wednesday under pressure from the street.
The resignations triggered jubilation among the protesters, who massed in their tens of thousands on Thursday in response to a call from their leaders for a “million-strong” march.
Despite the scorching heat, the protesters were back in numbers on Friday, an AFP correspondent reported.
“Freedom, freedom,” they chanted as prayer leader Sheikh Matter Younis delivered the sermon.
“We will not retreat until we get our main demand of civilian rule,” said Younis, an activist from Sudan’s war-torn western region of Darfur.
He also called for the “symbols” of the old regime to be punished.
“They must face fair and transparent justice, they have to be held accountable,” he said, as the protesters chanted “Blood for blood! We will not accept compensation!.”
Another Darfuri, Harun Adam, said his family lived in Kalma, one of the sprawling camps that are still home to hundreds of thousands of people who were driven from their homes by the Bashir government’s brutal response to the ethnic minority rebellion which erupted in 2003.
“I’m here since April 6,” when the sit-in started, Adam told AFP.
“I’m ready to stay here for a year until we get our main demand, which is a civilian government and that all those who committed crimes be held accountable.”
Behind him crowds chanted “One, two, three, four, we are all Darfur!“
The military council, led by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, says it has assumed power for a two-year transitional period.
Protest leaders have held several rounds of talks with the council and the two sides have agreed to set up a joint committee to chart the way forward but there has so far been no breakthrough.
Washington has thrown its weight behind the protesters.
State Department official Makila James said on Tuesday that Washington supports “the legitimate demand of the people of Sudan for a civilian-led government” and urged all parties to work together to that end.
But at a summit hosted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday, African leaders conceded that more time was needed for a transition to civilian rule.
Their statement angered the protesters who held a rally outside the Egyptian embassy on Thursday.
The African Union had taken a strong line setting an end of April deadline for the military council to hand power to civilians or face suspension from the 55-nation bloc.


Detainee allegedly tortured in Sudan dies: doctors

Updated 27 min 6 sec ago
0

Detainee allegedly tortured in Sudan dies: doctors

  • The man died on Saturday in the town of Dilling in the state of South Kordofan after he was detained by agents of the feared National Intelligence and Security Service
  • It was NISS that led a sweeping crackdown on protests against Bashir’s rule that first erupted in December

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese civilian detained and allegedly tortured by security agents in a central town has died in custody, a doctors committee linked to the country’s protest movement said Sunday.
The man died on Saturday in the town of Dilling in the state of South Kordofan after he was detained by agents of the feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the doctors committee said in a statement.
The detainee “passed away on July 20, 2019 from torture while in detention at the NISS office in Dilling,” the statement said without elaborating on the circumstances of his arrest.
“NISS continues to torture and claim innocent civilian lives illegally without facing any consequences.”
Officers of NISS were not immediately available for comment.
Rights groups and activists had regularly accused NISS agents of cracking down on dissidents and restricting freedoms during the regime of veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir who was ousted in April.
It was NISS that led a sweeping crackdown on protests against Bashir’s rule that first erupted in December.
Dozens were killed and hundreds of protesters, activists and opposition leaders were arrested during the months-long campaign that led to Bashir’s overthrow and subsequent demonstrations calling for civilian rule.
Last week a power-sharing deal was inked between the protest leaders and the ruling generals who seized power after ousting Bashir.
More talks between the two sides to thrash out some pending issues have been suspended following differences within the protest movement itself over the power-sharing deal.