Sudan’s Milotary Topples Longtime President Bashir, Announces 2-year Transitional Period

Khartoum, MINA – Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was ousted from his post and arrested, while a three-month state of emergency was declared in the country, Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Aufsaid said.

In a statement broadcast on state TV, he said a military council would run the country for a two-year transitional period with elections held after it is completed.

The minister also announced the closure of airspace, airports and other points of entry to Sudan, adding that the airspace would be closed for 24 hours, while land crossing would remain shut until further notice, Daily Sabah reported.

The coup to replace the president of 30 years followed mass street protests against his rule.

The two officials, who hold high positions in the government and the military, said the army was now in talks about forming a transitional government. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Eyewitnesses in Khartoum said the military had deployed at key sites in the city to secure several installations since the morning hours.

A team of Sudanese soldiers raided the offices of a group linked to Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, witnesses said.

The soldiers raided the offices of the Islamic Movement, the ideological wing of the NCP, on Thursday morning, witnesses told AFP.

Armored vehicles and tanks are parked in the streets and near bridges over the Nile River, they said, as well as in the vicinity of the military headquarters, where thousands were anxiously awaiting the army statement. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

Organizers of the protests urged crowds to converge and join an ongoing sit-in underway in Khartoum since the weekend. They issued a statement vowing to remain in the streets until the “regime steps down completely and power is handed to a civilian transitional government.”

Thousands of protesters, including women carrying their children, were making their way toward the military headquarters, clapping and ululating, many flashing “V” for victory. There were also unconfirmed reports that the airport in the Sudanese capital had been closed.

Ahead of the expected army statement, Sudanese radio played military marches and patriotic music. State TV ceased regular broadcasts, with only the brief announcement saying that there will be an “important statement from the armed forces after a while, wait for it.”(R/R04/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)