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Monday, 21 October 2019

Three members of Sudan military council resign after demand by opposition

Reuters , Thursday 25 Apr 2019
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Three members of Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council have resigned, but their resignations are yet to be accepted, the TMC said late on Wednesday.

Lieutenant-General Omar Zain al-Abideen who heads the TMC's political committee was one of the resigning members, the TMC said in a statement. The two others were Lieutenant-General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh and Lieutenant-General Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel.

The resignations came after the Sudanese Professionals' Association, the main protest organiser, called for a million-strong march to take place on Thursday. One of the SPA's demands was that the three lieutenant-generals, Abideen, Fadeel and Sheikh, be dismissed and tried over their alleged role in a crackdown that killed dozens of protesters.

Earlier on Wednesday evening, the opposition and the TMC agreed to form a committee to resolve their disagreements, amid tensions over how long it will take to move to civilian rule after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

"We are partners working together to bring Sudan to safety," TMC spokesman Shams El Din Kabbashi said on state TV following a meeting with the umbrella group Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which includes the SPA. The TMC had invited the opposition to the talks, saying that "the doors of dialogue and negotiation are open."

The opposition movement voiced a willingness to participate in the talks.

"The Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change decided to respond to the invitation and listen with an open mind to what the president of the military council will propose, asserting that our desire is the peaceful transfer to a transitional civilian authority that reflects the forces of the revolution," the SPA said in a statement.

The TMC and the opposition had appeared on a collision course in recent days over popular demands for democratisation under civilian government. The SPA had declared on Sunday it would suspend talks with the military council.

While the opposition has insisted on a swift handover of power to civilians, the TMC has said the process could take up to two years. Bashir ruled for 30 years after taking power in a military coup in 1989.

On Tuesday, the SPA and witnesses said security forces tried to break up a protester sit-in outside Khartoum's Defence Ministry. The group instead encouraged protesters to put up more barriers and continue their demonstration.

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