SAT 29 - 2 - 2020
May 14, 2019
The Daily Star
Sudan's military and opposition agree on transitional power structure
Prosecutors charge Bashir with killing protesters
KHARTOUM: Sudan's military council and opposition groups have agreed to a power structure for the country's transition but have yet to decide how long it will last or the make-up of transitional bodies, the council's spokesman said Monday.
The military-civilian balance of power and the length of the transition have been key sticking points in talks between the council and an alliance of protest and opposition groups since former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted on April 11.
Those points will be addressed on Tuesday, according to Transitional Military Council (TMC) spokesman Lieutenant General Shams al-Din Kabbashi and Taha Osman Ishaq, a spokesman for the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces opposition alliance.
Protesters are pushing for a civilian-led transition and have kept up demonstrations against the council since military officers removed Bashir, who is now facing multiple criminal investigations, from power.
On Monday they blocked roads in central Khartoum in an escalation of tactics after security forces used tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters across the Nile in Khartoum North, Reuters witnesses said.
For a second day on Monday demonstrators blocked Nile Street, a major avenue running south of the Blue Nile, placing burning branches and stones across the road.
A group of about 50 protesters also blocked a small road between the Health Ministry and Khartoum University. Soldiers tried and failed to persuade them to open a section of the street.
In Khartoum North, police and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces dismantled barricades and dispersed about 100 protesters who had blocked a road leading to al-Mek Nimir Bridge and the center of the capital.
The blockage had brought traffic in the capital to a near standstill, a Reuters witness said. Rapid Support Forces also fired in the air to disperse protesters near Blue Nile bridge, witnesses said.
Protesters demanding a swift handover of power to civilians have been camped at a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry compound in central Khartoum since April 6, as the military has negotiated with the opposition alliance over the transition.
Talks resumed on Monday, and both sides said they had produced agreement on the duties and authorities of sovereign, executive and legislative bodies.
"We discussed the structure of the transitional authority and agreed on it completely, and we also agreed on the system of governance in the transitional period," said Kabbashi.
"We will continue tomorrow with talks on the ratio of participation on the sovereign level ... and the length of the transitional period," he said. "God willing, we will agree on these two points."
The Sudanese Professionals' Association, which leads the opposition alliance, has accused the TMC of expanding its powers as talks over the transition have stalled.
"The situation now in public roads, bridges and in neighborhoods expresses the state of popular discontent with the procrastination and the consumption of time by the military council," it said on Monday.
The TMC has said it is not seeking power and is open to further dialogue.
Also on Monday, Sudan's public prosecution said it had charged Bashir and others with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters.
Earlier this month, the public prosecutor ordered Bashir to be interrogated on charges of money laundering and financing terrorism. There has been no comment from Bashir, who is being held in prison in Khartoum.
Sudan prosecutors charge Bashir with killing protesters
KHARTOUM: Sudanese prosecutors have charged ousted President Omar al-Bashir with involvement in killing protesters and inciting to kill demonstrators during the uprising that drove him from power last month, state news agency SUNA reported Monday. It was not immediately clear what punishment he might face.
Protest organizers say security forces killed around 100 demonstrators during the four months of rallies leading to Bashir’s overthrow.
The Transitional Military Council ruling Sudan has said Bashir would face justice inside the country and not be extradited to the Hague, where the International Criminal Court has charged him with war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur conflict in the 2000s.
Bashir, who was the only sitting head of state to be subject to an international arrest warrant, was imprisoned in the capital, Khartoum, days after the military removed him from power.
The military ousted Bashir on April 11, but the demonstrators have remained in the streets, demanding the dismantling of his regime and a swift transition to civilian rule. In recent weeks they have threatened a general strike and civil disobedience.
The protesters resumed negotiations with the army Monday while calling for more demonstrations.
Lt. Gen. Shams al-Deen al-Kabashi, a spokesman for the military council, said Monday’s meeting, the first in over a week, was held “in a more optimistic atmosphere.”
The protesters are represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the protests since December.
Kabashi said they agreed on the creation of a sovereign council, a Cabinet and a legislative body that would govern during the transition.
He said they would discuss the makeup of the three bodies and the duration of the transition Tuesday.
The two sides remain divided over what role the military, which is dominated by Bashir appointees, should have in the transition period until elections can be held.
The military wants to play a leading role in a transition lasting up to two years, while the protesters have demanded an immediate transition to a civilian-led authority that would govern for four years.
The protesters fear the army will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed Bashir. They also worry that Islamists and other factions close to the deposed leader, who is now jailed in Khartoum, will be granted a role in the transition.
The military agreed last month to recognize the FDFC as the uprising’s only legitimate representative, in a victory for the protesters. But the generals have called for other political parties - with the exception of Bashir’s National Congress Party - to be included in the transition. The opposition has vowed to continue protests, centered on a sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.
It has called for a series of nationwide protests, including another march to the main sit-in, for the coming week.
Protesters Monday blocked roads in central Khartoum in an escalation of tactics after security forces used tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters across the Nile in Khartoum North, Reuters witnesses said.
For a second day they blocked Nile Street, a major avenue running south of the Blue Nile, placing burning branches and stones across the road.
In Khartoum North, police and paramilitary rapid support forces dismantled barricades and forcibly dispersed about 100 protesters who had blocked a road leading to Al-Mak Nimir Bridge and to the center of the capital. The blockage had brought traffic in the capital to a near standstill.
The paramilitary RSF, which has led counterinsurgency campaigns in Darfur and other regions, is led by Gen. Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council.
Brother of Sudan's Bashir not in detention: army
Agence France Presse
KHARTOUM: Sudan's ruling military council said Tuesday that a brother of ousted president Omar al-Bashir who it previously announced had been detained was actually not in custody.
On April 17, the military council had announced that it had detained two of Bashir's five brothers – Abdallah Hassan al-Bashir and Al-Abbas Hassan al-Bashir.
"This statement was not accurate," military council spokesperson Lt. Gen. Shamseddine Kabbashi told reporters early Tuesday.
He said on April 17 Abdallah had been arrested, and the next day Abbas was seen in an area bordering with a neighboring country.
"Sudanese authorities have been in contact with this country but it has refused to hand him over to us," he said without naming the country.
"Then news came that he is in Turkey," Kabbashi said without specifying whether he was referring to recent media reports of Abbas being in Turkey.
Bashir himself is being held in Khartoum's Kober prison, according to the council.
On Monday, Sudan's prosecutor general's office said Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during anti-regime protests that led to his ouster on April 11.
The charges form part of an investigation into the death of a medic killed during a protest in the capital's eastern district of Burri, the prosecutor general's office said in a statement.
Ninety people were killed in protest-related violence after demonstrations initially erupted in December, a doctors' committee linked to the protest movement said last month.
The official death toll is 65.
On Monday, five protesters and an army major were shot dead in Khartoum, according to the committee, just hours after protest leaders and the ruling generals reached a breakthrough agreement on transitional authorities to run the country.
The army rulers who took power after Bashir's ouster and protest leaders are engaged in negotiations over handing of power from the generals to a civilian administration.
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