Sudan - words we never thought we'd hear

Staff Writer | Apr 10, 2019
Sudanese protesters are calling for President Omar al-Bashir to resign, after 30 years in power.

This is a situation no one would have imagined – protesters in Sudan calling for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir.

Protests against al-Bashir, who has governed Sudan since 1989, have been under way for several months. They were originally sparked by a rise in the cost of living, but now protesters demand that the president resign.

Over the past weekend, a large group gathered outside the Khartoum headquarters of the army, defence ministry and the president.

The protesters want the armed forces to withdraw their support for the government. Representatives of the protesters say they are seeking talks with the army regarding the formation of a transitional government.

A video emerged on Monday showing soldiers firing at an unclear target as civilians took cover behind the soldiers. The protesters said the soldiers were responding to gunfire from National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) agents.

Information Minister Hassan Ismail has contradicted the reports about the divide. "The security apparatus are coherent together and working with positive energy and in harmony," he said on Monday.

It appears that the government is now using security agents to break up the protests.

One of the protesters, Ahmed Mahmoud, told the BBC that "tear-gas and live bullets were used" by NISS agents against protesters.

He added that army soldiers had provided sanctuary for protesters within their compound. "It is pointless for Omar Bashir to continue using his thugs to get us off the streets as we are not going anywhere."

Previous attempts to break up the crowds have also led to reports of soldiers intervening to protect protesters from NISS agents.

There have been international calls urging the government to refrain from using force against civilians. President Bashir has called for talks to end the crisis.

Will al-Bashir seek sanctuary in South Africa?

 

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