Sudanese activists say 16 killed after Bashir’s ouster

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Sudanese activists say 16 killed after Bashir’s ouster

by - 3 min read

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Sudanese activists say that 16 people, including a soldier, have been killed in the two days since the military forced President Omar al-Bashir from power amid months of anti-government protests.

The Sudan Doctors Committee, an affiliate of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been spearheading the protests, said 13 people were shot dead on Thursday and three others, including the soldier, were killed Friday.

The group said they died “at the hands of regime forces and its shadow militias.”

Sudanese police said late Friday that the 16 were killed by “stray bullets,” and that at least 20 people were wounded at rallies and sit-ins across the country.

The military overthrew Bashir on Thursday after nearly four months of protests calling for an end to his nearly 30-year rule. Military officials say he is under house arrest in the capital, Khartoum, and will be tried for unspecified crimes by Sudanese courts.

Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf delivers a speech in Khartoum on Friday, announcing he is stepping down in favour of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to succeed him as head of the transitional military council. (Sudan TV/AFP/Getty Images)

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide linked to the war in Sudan’s Darfur region in the 2000s.

The protesters have said they will remain in the streets until a civilian transitional council is formed. They fear the military, which is dominated by Bashir loyalists, will rule indefinitely or hand power to one of its own.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan was sworn in Friday as head of a transitional council formed by the military, which says it will rule the country for up to two years until elections. Burhan, who previously served as the general inspector of the armed forces, had met with the protesters in the streets after Bashir’s ouster and listened to their demands.

Defence minister unpopular with protesters quits

He replaces Gen. Awad ibn Ouf, the defence minister who had announced Bashir’s ouster. Ibn Ouf stepped down as transitional leader amid a public outcry, with the protesters saying he was too close to the ousted leader.

Ibn Ouf was head of military intelligence during the brutal campaign to suppress the Darfur insurgency. The United States has imposed sanctions on him since 2007, saying he armed and directed pro-government militias known as the Janjaweed, accused of widespread atrocities during the conflict.

On Saturday, state-run media reported that Lt. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh, the head of the National Intelligence and Security Services, resigned the day before. It did not provide further details.

Once a member of the president’s inner circle, Gosh was sacked as an adviser in April 2011 for criticizing the government. He was arrested the following year on suspicion of involvement in a coup attempt, but was later pardoned by Bashir, who appointed him intelligence chief in February 2018.

Sudan’s protests began in December, sparked by price hikes and shortages, but quickly escalated into an Arab Spring-inspired uprising against Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 Islamist-backed military coup. Earlier this month, tens of thousands of protesters joined a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, vowing to remain there until their demands were met.

Security forces loyal to Bashir responded to the protests with a violent crackdown, killing dozens of protesters. They attacked the sit-in on several occasions, up until Bashir’s resignation, and clashed with soldiers who intervened to protect the protesters.

The Sudan Doctors Committee says at least 38 people, including at least six soldiers, have been killed since the sit-in began on April 6.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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