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New Sudan head resigns, army says 'not a coup'

AFP  |  Khartoum 

Sudan's new has resigned just a day after being sworn in, as the country's rulers insisted they would pave the way for a civilian government.

The of Sudan's new ruling military council, Awad Ibn Ouf, announced his departure on Friday late Thursday following the ouster of long-time

His move came shortly after the council's Lieutenant told Arab and African diplomats at a meeting broadcast on state television: "This is not a military coup, but taking the side of the people." Ouf's departure was an apparent sign of confusion among the northest African country's new leaders after Thursday's ousting of iron-fisted Bashir.

But there was jubilation at the on the streets of

Tens of thousands of protestors had kept up a vigil at the headquarters in the Sudanese capital Friday angrily demanding that the military make way for a civilian government.

"I hereby announce my resignation as of the Transitional Military Council," Ibn Ouf said in an address to the nation, announcing he had chosen Abdulrahman to replace him.

He said he trusted in Abdulrahman's "experience and suitability I trust to bring this ship to a safe shore".

The which has spearheaded the nationwide protest campaign hailed Ibn Ouf's departure as "a victory of the people's will".

The demonstrations against Bashir's 30-year rule first erupted in December, triggered by a tripling of the bread prices in one of the world's most impoverished

But vast crowds have been thronging outside the headquarters since Saturday in unprecedented scenes.

Many were preparing to defy a night-time curfew for the second time, denouncing Ibn Ouf's leadership as a military coup.

That was denied by Abdin who said the transitional military council, due to stay in power for two years, would "open dialogue with political parties".

There "will be a civilian government and we will not intervene in its composition," he vowed.

He also appealed to foreign diplomats for "your donations, as we have some economic issues," alluding to fuel and

"The role of the military council is to protect the security and stability of the country," Abdin added.

Thousands of men and women, dressed in white, again braved the searing Sudanese heat on Friday to offer prayers outside the sprawling army complex which has become a focus point of the protests since Saturday.

The imam leading the prayers was draped in the Sudanese flag. The police said 16 people had been killed in live fire in in the past two days, without elaborating.

Hussein Mohamed, an elderly man from Omdurman, said he was attending the protest for the first time in response to a call to hold Friday prayers there.

"It is too, too hot but I'm impressed by what our young men and women are doing here," he said. "I'll surely come again."

Bashir, who took charge in the northeast African country in a 1989 military coup, remained in custody Friday, but Abdin said the council would never extradite him or any other Sudanese citizen.

The (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants against Bashir for suspected genocide and war crimes.

The military council had announced a two-year transition period, but Sudan's UN told the in that this could be shortened "depending on developments on the ground and agreements between stakeholders".

Protesters have defied repeated deadly attempts by riot police and the feared to crush their movement.

But when Bashir's overthrow was finally announced on Thursday in an address to the nation by Ibn Ouf, it was met not with joy but anger.

Protest leaders dismissed the as the "same old faces" from a regime which led the country into multiple conflicts, worsening poverty and ever-widening social inequality.

Thursday's announcement meant "we have not achieved anything", said one protester, who gave his name only as Adel.

"We will not stop our revolution. We are calling for the regime to step down, not only Bashir." Analysts said Bashir's overthrow in a "palace coup" made the transition to democracy in a more distant prospect.

"The power struggle within the security cabal that took power yesterday is just beginning," said Alex de Waal, a specialist at

"Bashir had kept their rivalries and ambitions in check; his removal brings in its wake an unregulated uncertainty."

Multiple world powers have made calls for a peaceful transition. urged the military council "to exercise restraint and to allow space for civilian participation within the government".

The urged the army to carry out a "swift" handover to civilian rule.

Britain's has said that a two-year transition overseen by the military "is not the answer." "We need to see a swift move to an inclusive, representative, civilian leadership," Hunt said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, April 13 2019. 03:05 IST