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Sudan's Military Says Security Forces Committed Violations In Sit-in Dispersal
14 June, 2019

View attachment 8026
Protesters shout slogans and make victory signs after Friday prayers in front of the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan, April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudan's ruling military said security forces did commit violations when they tried to disperse a protest sit-in camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum last week.

Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi, spokesman of the ruling military council, said an investigation is underway and several military officers are already in custody over the violations.

Kabashi spoke to reporters at a news conference late Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

He didn't elaborate on the violations beyond saying they were "painful and outrageous."

Kabashi also rejected all calls for an international investigation into the incident.

Last week's violence, which protest organizers said left over 100 killed, marked an alarming turn in the standoff between the protesters and the Sudanese military.

 

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Sudan's Bashir charged on corruption in first public appearance since ouster
June 16, 2019


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Sudan's ex-president Omar al-Bashir leaves the office of the anti-corruption prosecutor in Khartoum, Sudan, June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s ex-president Omar al-Bashir was charged with corruption-related offences on Sunday, as he appeared in public for the first time since he was overthrown in April.

Wearing traditional white robes and turban, he was driven to the prosecutor’s office in Khartoum, Reuters witnesses said.

Looking much the same as prior to his ouster, he walked briskly from the vehicle into the building, smiling and speaking with the guards escorting him. Minutes later he walked out scowling after prosecutors read out the charges he faces.

“The prosecution ... accused him of ...possession of foreign currency, accepting gifts in an unofficial manner,” prosecutor Alaa al-Din Abdallah told reporters.

He said Bashir was given a chance to respond to the charges. His lawyers declined to answer reporters’ questions.

The military overthrew and detained Bashir on April 11 after 16 weeks of street protests against his 30-year rule. He was being held in prison in Khartoum North, across the Blue Nile from the capital’s center.

Reporting by Eltayeb Siddig; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Andrew Heavens


 

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Sudan's Bashir charged on corruption in first public appearance since ouster
June 16, 2019


View attachment 8130
Sudan's ex-president Omar al-Bashir leaves the office of the anti-corruption prosecutor in Khartoum, Sudan, June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s ex-president Omar al-Bashir was charged with corruption-related offences on Sunday, as he appeared in public for the first time since he was overthrown in April.

Wearing traditional white robes and turban, he was driven to the prosecutor’s office in Khartoum, Reuters witnesses said.

Looking much the same as prior to his ouster, he walked briskly from the vehicle into the building, smiling and speaking with the guards escorting him. Minutes later he walked out scowling after prosecutors read out the charges he faces.

“The prosecution ... accused him of ...possession of foreign currency, accepting gifts in an unofficial manner,” prosecutor Alaa al-Din Abdallah told reporters.

He said Bashir was given a chance to respond to the charges. His lawyers declined to answer reporters’ questions.

The military overthrew and detained Bashir on April 11 after 16 weeks of street protests against his 30-year rule. He was being held in prison in Khartoum North, across the Blue Nile from the capital’s center.

Reporting by Eltayeb Siddig; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Andrew Heavens


 

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US diplomat wants ‘credible’ probe into Sudan crackdown
By HUSSEIN MALLAH and SAMY MAGDY
16 June 2019



Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council that assumed power in Sudan after the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, salutes during a rally, in Galawee town, north of Sudan, Saturday, June 15, 2019. The top U.S. diplomat to Africa said there must be an "independent and credible" investigation into the Sudanese military's violent dispersal of a protest camp in the capital earlier this month, as the ruling military council failed to announce the findings of its own investigation on Saturday as promised. (AP Photo)

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — The top U.S. diplomat to Africa said there must be an “independent and credible” investigation into the Sudanese military’s violent dispersal of a protest camp in the capital earlier this month, as the ruling military council failed to announce the findings of its own investigation on Saturday as promised.

Sudan’s security forces violently swept away a camp in Khartoum on June 3 where demonstrators had been holding a sit-in. More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds wounded since then, according to protest organizers. Authorities say only 61 have died, including three security forces.

The violent break-up marked a turn in the standoff between the protesters and the military, which removed autocratic President Omar al-Bashir from power in April after a months-long popular uprising against his 30-year rule.

Tibor Nagy, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa, said the deadly break-up of the sit-in outside the military’s headquarters “constituted a 180 degree turn in the way events were going with murder, rape, pillaging, by members of the Security Forces.” He said events were moving forward favorably until then.

The U.S. diplomat spoke late Friday upon his arrival in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa after a two-day visit to Sudan where he met with the ruling generals, protesters and victims of the crackdown, whose accounts were “harrowing and very persuasive.”

Sudan’s chief prosecutor Saturday rejected the idea of any outside probe, saying the military was doing its own investigation.

However, Sudan’s military council failed to release any findings of its investigation Saturday as it had announced, saying only that some troops were implicated in the violent dispersal against the council’s will. It said those troops were not part of security forces assigned to clear a problematic area near the sit-in, known as the Colombia area, and that they would be held accountable in a public trial. The council did not say when the findings would be released.

Protest organizers have called for an internationally backed probe into the crackdown. But the ruling military council, which acknowledged that security forces committed violations, have strongly rejected the idea.

Nagy said the head of the military council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, “was adamant that there will be accountability” and that “we certainly hope that there will be such an investigation.”

Nagy said the U.S. has been supporting mediation efforts by the African Union and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to resume negotiations between the military council and protesters.

The U.S. diplomat declined to outline possible measures Washington might take if the situation worsens. But he warned of negative scenarios as both the military council and protest leaders “absolutely distrust each other.”

“We could end up with the type of chaos that exists in Libya or Somalia,” he said.

In the wake of the sit-in dispersal, negotiations between the military and protesters were called off and the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters, held a three-day general strike and a campaign of civil disobedience. They also announced a package of conditions to be met before resuming talks, which included the formation of an international commission to investigate the killings of protesters, restored internet services, adherence to previous deals struck before the breakdown in talks and the return of paramilitary troops to their barracks.

The protesters ended their strike amid mediation efforts by the Ethiopian leader, who declared earlier this week that talks would be resumed “soon.”

On Saturday, deputy head of the military council Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo called for an interim government to run the country until elections are held and said the military council was ready to resume negotiations.

“We have a mandate from the Sudanese people to form a government from technocrats,” he told a press conference in Khartoum. Dagalo is the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which the protesters accused of spearheading the crackdown. He alleges that foreign envoys are plotting against Sudan.

Ahmed Rabie, a protest leader and spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, told The Associated Press that an international probe on the deadly crackdown should be established before resuming the talks.

“We firmly hold on to our demands: An international probe, resuming internet services and removing all military and militias from the Sudanese cities,” he said.

Also on Saturday, Sudan’s chief prosecutor rejected the idea of an international investigation into the crackdown but sought to distance his office from the deadly break-up of the sit-in. Al-Waleed Mahmoud’s comments came two days after military council spokesman Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi said the council had discussed dispersing protesters with top judicial officials.

Mahmoud said he did not discuss dispersing the protesters in the meeting.

“We did not discuss the sit-in break-up. We just discussed restoring order in the Colombia area,” he said in a press conference in Khartoum.
___
Magdy reported from Cairo.

 

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US diplomat wants ‘credible’ probe into Sudan crackdown
By HUSSEIN MALLAH and SAMY MAGDY
16 June 2019



Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council that assumed power in Sudan after the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, salutes during a rally, in Galawee town, north of Sudan, Saturday, June 15, 2019. The top U.S. diplomat to Africa said there must be an "independent and credible" investigation into the Sudanese military's violent dispersal of a protest camp in the capital earlier this month, as the ruling military council failed to announce the findings of its own investigation on Saturday as promised. (AP Photo)

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — The top U.S. diplomat to Africa said there must be an “independent and credible” investigation into the Sudanese military’s violent dispersal of a protest camp in the capital earlier this month, as the ruling military council failed to announce the findings of its own investigation on Saturday as promised.

Sudan’s security forces violently swept away a camp in Khartoum on June 3 where demonstrators had been holding a sit-in. More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds wounded since then, according to protest organizers. Authorities say only 61 have died, including three security forces.

The violent break-up marked a turn in the standoff between the protesters and the military, which removed autocratic President Omar al-Bashir from power in April after a months-long popular uprising against his 30-year rule.

Tibor Nagy, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa, said the deadly break-up of the sit-in outside the military’s headquarters “constituted a 180 degree turn in the way events were going with murder, rape, pillaging, by members of the Security Forces.” He said events were moving forward favorably until then.

The U.S. diplomat spoke late Friday upon his arrival in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa after a two-day visit to Sudan where he met with the ruling generals, protesters and victims of the crackdown, whose accounts were “harrowing and very persuasive.”

Sudan’s chief prosecutor Saturday rejected the idea of any outside probe, saying the military was doing its own investigation.

However, Sudan’s military council failed to release any findings of its investigation Saturday as it had announced, saying only that some troops were implicated in the violent dispersal against the council’s will. It said those troops were not part of security forces assigned to clear a problematic area near the sit-in, known as the Colombia area, and that they would be held accountable in a public trial. The council did not say when the findings would be released.

Protest organizers have called for an internationally backed probe into the crackdown. But the ruling military council, which acknowledged that security forces committed violations, have strongly rejected the idea.

Nagy said the head of the military council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, “was adamant that there will be accountability” and that “we certainly hope that there will be such an investigation.”

Nagy said the U.S. has been supporting mediation efforts by the African Union and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to resume negotiations between the military council and protesters.

The U.S. diplomat declined to outline possible measures Washington might take if the situation worsens. But he warned of negative scenarios as both the military council and protest leaders “absolutely distrust each other.”

“We could end up with the type of chaos that exists in Libya or Somalia,” he said.

In the wake of the sit-in dispersal, negotiations between the military and protesters were called off and the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters, held a three-day general strike and a campaign of civil disobedience. They also announced a package of conditions to be met before resuming talks, which included the formation of an international commission to investigate the killings of protesters, restored internet services, adherence to previous deals struck before the breakdown in talks and the return of paramilitary troops to their barracks.

The protesters ended their strike amid mediation efforts by the Ethiopian leader, who declared earlier this week that talks would be resumed “soon.”

On Saturday, deputy head of the military council Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo called for an interim government to run the country until elections are held and said the military council was ready to resume negotiations.

“We have a mandate from the Sudanese people to form a government from technocrats,” he told a press conference in Khartoum. Dagalo is the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which the protesters accused of spearheading the crackdown. He alleges that foreign envoys are plotting against Sudan.

Ahmed Rabie, a protest leader and spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, told The Associated Press that an international probe on the deadly crackdown should be established before resuming the talks.

“We firmly hold on to our demands: An international probe, resuming internet services and removing all military and militias from the Sudanese cities,” he said.

Also on Saturday, Sudan’s chief prosecutor rejected the idea of an international investigation into the crackdown but sought to distance his office from the deadly break-up of the sit-in. Al-Waleed Mahmoud’s comments came two days after military council spokesman Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi said the council had discussed dispersing protesters with top judicial officials.

Mahmoud said he did not discuss dispersing the protesters in the meeting.

“We did not discuss the sit-in break-up. We just discussed restoring order in the Colombia area,” he said in a press conference in Khartoum.
___
Magdy reported from Cairo.

 

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Sudan military council head says it's ready to negotiate with opposition
19 June 2019
Khalid Abdelaziz

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FILE PHOTO: Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration along the streets of Khartoum, Sudan May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The head of Sudan’s ruling military council said on Wednesday it was ready to meet an opposition alliance to negotiate the country’s transition toward democracy, after talks collapsed following the deadly dispersal of a protest sit-in.

“We are ready to continue negotiations with the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces,” Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said. “We do not deny its role in the uprising or in the popular revolution, their leadership of the masses.”

Talks between the military council and the DFCF alliance had stalled before collapsing altogether when security forces stormed a protest camp outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, killing dozens.

They had been wrangling for weeks over who would control a sovereign council to lead Sudan to elections: civilians or the military.

Burhan said the alliance should return to talks without preconditions.

“The solution must be satisfactory for all the Sudanese people,” he said. “We pledge to you and pledge to the people that we will not accept any solution that excludes any faction of the Sudanese people.”

The opposition had called for an international inquiry to be opened into the sit-in dispersal before they would rejoin talks.

There have been no direct talks since the dispersal, but Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the African Union have been trying to mediate between the sides.

The military overthrew and detained then President Omar al-Bashir on April 11 after 16 weeks of street protests against his 30-year autocratic rule.

Burhan renewed the military’s denial of its involvement in the dispersal.

“We all know that we pledged to all the Sudanese people that we would not disperse that place and that is a promise we made and we did not lie to anyone,” he said.

The military council had said the dispersal of the protest camp came about when a campaign against criminals using an area next to the sit-in strayed from its course.

“The committee concluded that a number of officers with various ranks were responsible for clearing the protest site,” a military investigative committee said in a statement read out on state TV, adding that the officers were not part of the force assigned to deal with the criminals.

The statement gave no details on the fate of the officers, but a military council spokesman on Thursday said that some of them were in custody.

State television on Sunday said tribal leaders, known as the National Administration, had given the military council a mandate to form a technocratic government.

Addressing the largely toothless body at the presidential palace, the deputy head of the military council said on Sunday it was ready to form a technocratic government, a remark that suggested the council may seek to navigate the transition alone.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yousef Saba, Editing by William Maclean

 

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Sudan military council head says it's ready to negotiate with opposition
19 June 2019
Khalid Abdelaziz

View attachment 8284
FILE PHOTO: Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration along the streets of Khartoum, Sudan May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The head of Sudan’s ruling military council said on Wednesday it was ready to meet an opposition alliance to negotiate the country’s transition toward democracy, after talks collapsed following the deadly dispersal of a protest sit-in.

“We are ready to continue negotiations with the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces,” Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said. “We do not deny its role in the uprising or in the popular revolution, their leadership of the masses.”

Talks between the military council and the DFCF alliance had stalled before collapsing altogether when security forces stormed a protest camp outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, killing dozens.

They had been wrangling for weeks over who would control a sovereign council to lead Sudan to elections: civilians or the military.

Burhan said the alliance should return to talks without preconditions.

“The solution must be satisfactory for all the Sudanese people,” he said. “We pledge to you and pledge to the people that we will not accept any solution that excludes any faction of the Sudanese people.”

The opposition had called for an international inquiry to be opened into the sit-in dispersal before they would rejoin talks.

There have been no direct talks since the dispersal, but Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the African Union have been trying to mediate between the sides.

The military overthrew and detained then President Omar al-Bashir on April 11 after 16 weeks of street protests against his 30-year autocratic rule.

Burhan renewed the military’s denial of its involvement in the dispersal.

“We all know that we pledged to all the Sudanese people that we would not disperse that place and that is a promise we made and we did not lie to anyone,” he said.

The military council had said the dispersal of the protest camp came about when a campaign against criminals using an area next to the sit-in strayed from its course.

“The committee concluded that a number of officers with various ranks were responsible for clearing the protest site,” a military investigative committee said in a statement read out on state TV, adding that the officers were not part of the force assigned to deal with the criminals.

The statement gave no details on the fate of the officers, but a military council spokesman on Thursday said that some of them were in custody.

State television on Sunday said tribal leaders, known as the National Administration, had given the military council a mandate to form a technocratic government.

Addressing the largely toothless body at the presidential palace, the deputy head of the military council said on Sunday it was ready to form a technocratic government, a remark that suggested the council may seek to navigate the transition alone.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yousef Saba, Editing by William Maclean

 

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Sudan's main opposition coalition says agreed to mediator draft agreement
June 23, 2019
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Supporters of Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the military council and head of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), cheer as he arrives at a meeting in Aprag village, 60 kilometers away from Khartoum, Sudan, June 22, 2019.
REUTERS/Umit Bektas


KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s main opposition coalition said on Saturday it had received a draft agreement from the Ethiopian mediator and had agreed to all of its points defining the country’s governmental structure for the transitional period.

A draft of the Ethiopian proposal seen by Reuters suggested that the sovereign council would be made up of seven civilians and seven members of the military with one additional seat reserved for an impartial individual.

Babikr Faisal, a spokesman for the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition, gave no details on the contents of the agreement.

“Our acceptance of the Ethiopian mediation proposal pushes all the parties to face their responsibilities toward continuing to effort a political solution,” the coalition later said in a statement.

“Therefore we demand that the document be approved by the military council in order to move the situation in Sudan (forward).”

The ruling generals and the coalition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan’s transitional government would take after the military deposed and detained long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

In May, the parties came to an initial agreement that gave two-thirds of a transitional legislative council to the FFC coalition and allowed them to nominate candidates for a merit-based cabinet of ministers. The Ethiopian draft seen by Reuters suggested this would remain the case.

However, both sides were deadlocked on whether civilians or the military would control a new sovereign council to lead Sudan toward elections.

The coalition was meant to meet the Ethiopian envoy on Saturday, Faisal said, but the meeting was postponed.

Talks between the military and the opposition alliance collapsed when security forces stormed a protest sit-in outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, killing dozens.

There have been no direct talks since them, but Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the African Union have been trying to mediate between the sides.

The opposition accused the military council of ordering the sit-in’s dispersal using force and wants an international inquiry. Witnesses said the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, headed by the military council’s deputy, carried out the violence.

The military said a crackdown on criminals spilled over to the sit-in area, but some officers have been detained for presumed responsibility.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; additional reporting by Mohamed el-Sherif in Cairo; writing by Nadine Awadalla; editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and G Crosse

 

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Sudan protesters accept Ethiopia proposal for political transition
AFP
June 23, 2019


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Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of Sudan's military council and head of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), greets his supporters as he arrives at a meeting in Aprag village, 60 kilometers away from Khartoum, Sudan, on June 22, 2019. (REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

  • The ruling military council has yet to give its decision on the Ethiopian proposal
  • Ethiopia has stepped up its efforts to resolve the political crisis in Sudan since the deadly June 3 dispersal of a protest camp
KHARTOUM: Sudanese protest leaders on Saturday said they accepted the creation of a civilian-majority governing body for a political transition in Sudan as proposed by an Ethiopian envoy.

The compromise blueprint suggests the creation of a 15-member governing body that would install a civilian administration — comprising eight civilians and seven members of the military, they said.

The ruling military council has yet to give its decision on the Ethiopian proposal.

“We think that our acceptance of the proposal is a major leap toward meeting the goals of the revolution, which are freedom, peace and justice,” protest leader Babiker Faisal told reporters in a brief statement.

“It will put the country on the right track to create the transitional period that would usher in sustainable democracy.”

Of the eight civilians, seven will be from the umbrella protest movement the Alliance for Freedom and Change, another protest leader Amjad Farid had told AFP earlier on Saturday.

Ethiopia has stepped up its efforts to resolve the political crisis in Sudan since the deadly June 3 dispersal of a long-running protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum.

Sudan has been wracked by tensions between protest leaders and generals, who seized power after ousting president Omar Bashir in April, and the situation was exacerbated after the crackdown that killed dozens and wounded hundreds.

The crackdown carried out by men in military uniforms came after talks between protest leaders and the generals failed to reach an agreement on the composition of a new ruling body and who should lead it — a civilian or soldier.

Days after the crackdown, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led the mediation between the two sides.

In previous talks before the June 3 crackdown, protest leaders and the generals had agreed on a three-year transition period and to form a 300-member parliament, with two-third lawmakers from the protest movement.

At least 128 people have been killed in the crackdown, the majority of them on that day, doctors linked to the protest movement say.

The health ministry put the June 3 death toll at 61 nationwide.

The generals deny they ordered the army HQ protest broken up, insisting they authorized only a limited operation to clear drug dealers from around the camp.
It expressed “regret” over the “excesses” that happened on June 3.

 

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Tens of thousands protest to demand civilian rule in Sudan
June 30, 2019

View attachment 8686
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Khartoum on Sunday demanding the ruling military hand over to civilians, in the largest demonstrations since a deadly security service raid on a protest camp three weeks ago.

Protesters waved the Sudanese flag and chanted “civilian, civilian” and “blood for blood” in several parts of the capital as security forces looked on. Opposition groups posted videos of what they said were rallies in other cities

Sudan’s military rulers overthrew president Omar al-Bashir on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his rule.

Opposition groups kept up their streets protests as they pressed the military hand over to civilians.

Talks broke down and protests paused after security services raided a sit-in protest outside the defense ministry on June 3. But there has been a run of smaller demonstrations in recent days, and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) opposition coalition called for a million people to turn out on Sunday.

There was no immediate comment from the ruling military council which had warned a day earlier that the coalition would bear the responsibility for any loss of life or damage resulting from the rallies.

Members of one of the main opposition groups - the Sudanese Professionals’ Association - said security services raided its headquarters on Saturday night as it was about to give a news conference.

The United Nations has said it has received reports that more than 100 protesters were killed and many more injured at the sit-in protest on June 3.

Military leaders have denied ordering a raid on the camp and said a crackdown on criminals nearby had spilled over to the sit-in. The council has said some officers had been detained for presumed responsibility and it still intends to hand over power after elections.

Mediators led by the African Union and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have since been trying to broker a return to direct talks.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Andrew Heavens

 

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Tens of thousands protest to demand civilian rule in Sudan
June 30, 2019

View attachment 8686
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Khartoum on Sunday demanding the ruling military hand over to civilians, in the largest demonstrations since a deadly security service raid on a protest camp three weeks ago.

Protesters waved the Sudanese flag and chanted “civilian, civilian” and “blood for blood” in several parts of the capital as security forces looked on. Opposition groups posted videos of what they said were rallies in other cities

Sudan’s military rulers overthrew president Omar al-Bashir on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his rule.

Opposition groups kept up their streets protests as they pressed the military hand over to civilians.

Talks broke down and protests paused after security services raided a sit-in protest outside the defense ministry on June 3. But there has been a run of smaller demonstrations in recent days, and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) opposition coalition called for a million people to turn out on Sunday.

There was no immediate comment from the ruling military council which had warned a day earlier that the coalition would bear the responsibility for any loss of life or damage resulting from the rallies.

Members of one of the main opposition groups - the Sudanese Professionals’ Association - said security services raided its headquarters on Saturday night as it was about to give a news conference.

The United Nations has said it has received reports that more than 100 protesters were killed and many more injured at the sit-in protest on June 3.

Military leaders have denied ordering a raid on the camp and said a crackdown on criminals nearby had spilled over to the sit-in. The council has said some officers had been detained for presumed responsibility and it still intends to hand over power after elections.

Mediators led by the African Union and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have since been trying to broker a return to direct talks.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Andrew Heavens

 

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Sudan opposition ready to discuss sovereign council leadership with military rulers
July 3, 2019

View attachment 9018
FILE PHOTO: Sudanese shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the ruling military hand over to civilians in Khartoum, Sudan, June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s main opposition alliance said on Wednesday it was prepared for direct talks with the country’s military rulers over who should head a sovereign council to lead Sudan toward elections.

The Forces of Freedom and Change opposition alliance said the talks, launched in response to a call for negotiations from an Ethiopian mediator, should last three day

The opposition has been demanding the military give up power since April, when the armed forces toppled President Omar al-Bashir, ending his 30-year rule after months of demonstrations.

“The leadership of the Freedom and Change Forces met and decided to respond to the mediators’ call for direct negotiations with the military council and that the negotiations should only be about the presidency of the sovereign council and that the time frame for the negotiations should be 72 hours,” said Madani Abbas Madani, a leader of the Forces of Freedom and Change.

The group will decide whether to start the talks on Wednesday or Thursday depending on a final proposal from mediators. It also demanded that detained members of the Forces of Freedom and Change and other political prisoners be released.

Later on Wednesday, the head of Sudan’s ruling military council pardoned 235 detained members of the Sudan Liberation Movement, a rebel group active in the western Darfur region, according to a statement read out on Sudanese state TV.

The statement, which was attributed to military council head Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said the prisoners should be released immediately unless they are wanted in connection with other legal proceedings.

Since Bashir’s downfall, opposition groups have kept up demonstrations pressing the military to hand over power. Talks collapsed after members of the security services raided a sit-in protest camp outside the defense ministry on June 3.

The two sides have agreed on proposals presented by Ethiopian and African Union mediators to solve the crisis, Mahmoud Dirir, the Ethiopian mediator, said on Tuesday.

But they still disagree over the structure of a sovereign council meant to lead the country during the transitional period, Dirir said.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy and Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Lena Masri; Editing by Peter Graff and Hugh Lawson

 

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