Sudan’s top military man steps down amid protests

Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf The man who headed the Sudanese army has stepped down. This came shortly after the long-time Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir was toppled in a coup after millions of protesters took to the streets in a wave of protests that have shaken the political establishment in Sudan.


Protesters had refused to leave the streets, saying the coup leaders were too close to Mr Bashir.

Under pressure from the protesters and the rejuvenated civil society in Sudan, Awad Ibn Ouf stepped down to be replaced by Lt Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, a figure the senior military hope will be more acceptable to the protesters.


Awad Ibn Auf announced his decision on state TV. His decision to step down was celebrated by protesters in Khartoum, with people chanting phrases like “it fell again”.


The Sudan Professionals Association, which has been spearheading the protests, said Mr Ibn Auf’s decision to step down was a victory for demonstrators.
The people of Sudan participating in the protests had refused to leave the streets, saying the coup leaders particularly Awad Ibn Auf were too close to Mr Bashir.
Mr Ibn Auf was head of military intelligence during the Darfur conflict in the 2000s. The US imposed sanctions on him in 2007.

The regime has floundered since this phase of protests began. The old ways of coercion haven’t worked and they face a civil society that is well organised and disciplined. This is a further retreat. It is unlikely to be the last.

Despite al-Bashir’s removal on Thursday, demonstrators refused to disperse, camping out outside the army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, defying a curfew declared by the military.

In an effort to foster peace and calm a spokesman for the military council on Friday, said the army was not seeking power and Sudan’s future would be decided by the protesters – but said the army would maintain public order and disturbances would not be tolerated.

The army has said it will stay in power for two years, followed by elections.
Mr Bashir’s downfall followed months of unrest that began in December over rising prices.

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