Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir Steps Down

By: Babagana Bukar Wakil Ngala

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down, consultations are under way to form a transitional council to run the country, government sources, and a provincial minister said on Thursday.

The Minister of Production and Economic Resources in North Darfur, Adel Hussein, told the Dubai-based al-Hadath TV that there are consultations to form a military council to take over power after President Bashir stepped down.

Sudanese sources confirmed the report that al-Bashir was at the presidential residence under heavy guard. The military will make an announcement soon, state television said as troops were deployed in Khartoum.

The army and security services deployed troops around Defence Ministry and on major roads and bridges in the capital as tens of thousands of Sudanese took to the streets in the center of Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans since the weekend, out outside the Defence Ministry compound in central Khartoum, where Bashir’s residence is located.

Since Dec. 19, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages.

Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure, who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the West to weaken him.

Sudan has suffered prolonged periods of isolation since 1993, when the U.S added Bashir’s government to its list of terrorism sponsors for harboring Islamist militants. Washington followed up with sanctions four years later.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague has also indicted Bashir over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003.

Clashes erupted on Tuesday between soldiers trying to protect the protesters and intelligence and security personnel trying to disperse them. The information Ministry said a police report showed that at least 11 people died in the clashes, including six members of the armed forces.

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