Monday, 27 May, 2019

Military, opposition (finally) agree to three-year transition

Sudanese protesters burn tyres as they block Violence overshadows Sudan's transition push
Steven Clarke | 18 May, 2019, 04:12

Sudanese protesters say security agents loyal to ousted President Omar al-Bashir attacked their sit-ins overnight, setting off clashes that left six people dead, including an army officer, and heightened tensions as the opposition holds talks with the ruling military council.

Army generals and the umbrella opposition group Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC) had been expected to agree on the composition of a joint military-civilian body to govern during a three-year transition period to pave the way for elections.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change, the group that is leading the protest movement and negotiating the transfer of power with the army rulers, called the move "regrettable".

"We vow to our people that the agreement will be completed fully within 24 hours in a way that it meets the people's aspirations", said General Yasser al-Atta, one of the members of the current ruling military council.

Significantly, the two sides agreed to devote the first six months of the transitional period to resolving the three conflicts that have over the years created a series of humanitarian crises of big proportions.

The deal is the most significant step forward in Sudan's weeks-long stand-off between thousands of protesters demanding civilian rule and the military.

The military had proposed a two-year transition, while the protesters hoped for four.

The conflicts are in the Nuba Mountains, Darfur west of Khartoum, and in the Blue Nile province to the south of the capital, where rebels fight government forces to press demands for a proportionate share of state resources and an end to their perceived marginalisation by the Arabised north of the country.

Protester Mohamed expressed disappointment over the suspended negotiations, saying they had "delayed so many times and there have been so many assaults on us".

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The council head also said that the TMC has made a decision to remove all barricades in central Khartoum placed by protesters beyond a designated sit-in zone outside the Defense Ministry.

In a statement Monday, the office of Sudan's prosecutor-general said Bashir and others "have been charged for inciting and participating in the killing of demonstrators".

The United States backed the opposition alliance in pinning the blame for Monday's chaos on the military for trying to remove roadblocks set up by protesters.

"The decision for security forces to escalate the use of force. led directly to the unacceptable violence later in the day" that got out of control, it said.

"Military council must act to stop this now".

Protesters said the army aimed to provoke demonstrators.

Our editorial independence means that we can continue to provide factual updates about ongoing protests to Sudanese and worldwide actors, educate people about how to avoid outbreaks of cholera, and provide a window to the world for those in all corners of Sudan.

"The announcement is expected after midnight", he told AFP.

On the defence and interior ministries would be headed by military figures, he said.

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