Sudan army ruler says talks with protesters suspended

Sudan's army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said that talks with protesters over installing civil rule have been suspended for 72 hours, in a statement broadcast live on state television Thursday.

"We decided to suspend the negotiations over civil rule for 72 hours to help prepare an atmosphere for completing the deal," Burhan said, demanding that protesters dismantle roadblocks in Khartoum, open bridges connecting the capital and other regions and "stop provoking security forces".

Army generals and protest leaders had been expected to finalise the make-up of a new ruling body to govern Sudan for three years, the thorniest issue in installing civilian rule.

Burhan, the chief of the ruling military council that took power after ousting longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir, justified the decision to suspend the crucial and final phase of negotiations by indicating that the overall security situation in the capital had deteriorated.

He said bridges, roads and a railway line had been closed and there was an "infiltration of armed elements among demonstrators who were shooting at security forces".

Protest leaders also told AFP earlier that the military council had suspended the talks.

The much-awaited talks on transfer of power from the generals to a civilian administration commenced on Monday but have been marred by violence that left six people dead the same day at a Khartoum sit-in where thousands of protesters have camped for weeks.