Sudan’s opposition alliance blamed military rulers on Tuesday for renewed street violence complicating efforts to negotiate a handover to civilian power after last month’s ouster of President Omar al-Bashir. At least four people died and dozens were injured during protests on Monday as the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) said they had reached a partial agreement for transition. Gunfire rang out in the capital into the night after paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – whose head is deputy of the military council – had patrolled the streets using tear gas and guns to disrupt demonstrations. The protesters, who want to keep pressure on the military for a swift handover, were back on Tuesday, blocking roads and bridges with bricks and rocks, images on social media showed. “The bullets that were fired yesterday were Rapid Support Forces bullets and we hold the military council responsible for what happened yesterday,” Khalid Omar Youssef, a senior figure in the DFCF, told a news conference. “While they claimed that a third party was the one who did so, eyewitnesses confirmed that the party was in armed forces vehicles and in armed forces uniforms, so the military council must reveal this party.” “HE MEANT TO KILL ME” Monday’s fatalities were the first in protests for several weeks after months of demonstrations led to Bashir’s fall. The victims included a military police officer and three demonstrators, state TV said. An opposition-linked doctors’ committee said there was a fifth
After spearheading the rallies that toppled former President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s main protest group is now locked in a stand-off with the country’s new military rulers that is testing its clout as a political force. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) gained widespread support during more than four months of protests and it has helped win a string of apparent concessions from the military council that took over from Bashir on April 11.
But as the unionists and activists in the SPA try to chart a course to full-fledged democracy, they are coming up against a powerful rival that has shown little sign yet that it is willing to move aside for a civilian-led transition.
Frustrated by a lack of progress, the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), a broad coalition of opposition groups headed by the SPA, called on Wednesday for a campaign of civil disobedience to crank up the pressure on the military.
“We have all options open from now on,” Ahmed Rabie, an influential SPA member, told Reuters. “If (the council) insists on holding on to power, we are going to consider this a military coup, and we will escalate our tactics, peacefully.”
Sudan’s military rulers and opposition agreed in principle on Saturday to the formation of a joint body to lead a transition from 30 years of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir, but not on the new council’s make-up, two sources said. The two sides were holding their first formal discussions as opposition groups and protesters push for a rapid handover to civilian rule following Bashir’s fall earlier this month. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), which ousted and arrested Bashir after months of protests, has said it will rule for up to two years ahead of elections.
Anti-Bashir opposition groups and protesters who have kept up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry want a civilian-led transitional council with military representation. They continued their thousands-strong demonstration on Saturday evening.
“I came to support the sit-in for a civilian government because the army ruled Sudan since 52 years ago and the result is nothing,” said Nour el-Dayem Gaafar, a 23-year-old student from South Darfur state who had travelled by bus to the capital.
South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the capital Juba for the first time in more than two years Wednesday for a ceremony to welcome the latest peace accord for the war-ravaged country. Machar, who under the terms of the September deal is to be reinstated as vice president, had not set foot in the city since he fled in July 2016 under a hail of gunfire when an earlier peace agreement collapsed.
Riek Machar was welcomed by President Salva Kiir, Machar’s former ally turned bitter enemy, on his arrival at Juba’s airport from Khartoum.