KHARTOUM – Sudan’s transitional military council announced on Friday the delay of its formation, which is set to slow consultations with the country’s political factions after Sudan’s long-serving president Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the army.
Meanwhile, Sudanese demonstrators continued their protests near the army’s headquarters, requesting the transfer of power to a civilian authority.
The Council, declared Thursday via the country’s defense minister, Awad Mohamed Ibn Auf, that it was set to meet Friday with “all the political factions” before deciding on the body to be in charge of leading the country for the next two years.
As of Friday, Bin Auf had taken office as a president of the transitional council, with the military’s chief of staff, Kamal Abdel-Marouf, as Bin Auf’s vice president.
Military sources told EFE that all the members of the council were expected to be from the army and from different security forces, including Sudan’s elite Rapid Support Forces.
Meanwhile, thousands of military supporters have remained concentrated in the vicinity of the army headquarters in the capital, where they have stayed since Saturday to demand the resignation of al-Bashir and show their support to the armed forces.
After al-Bashir was removed from power Thursday, and despite a series of emergency measures announced by the military including a curfew set to be in effect between 10 pm and 4 am local time, protestors refused to go home and demanded that a democratic civilian government be formed.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, which includes opposition unions and has led protests since last December, has called on the “people’s armed forces” to support the protesters in the face of leaders trying to “steal” the popular revolution.
The association has called for a mass prayer Friday noon, coinciding with Muslims’ sacred day of the week, in honor of those who died in recent days, including some soldiers who have protected civilians during security forces attempts to disperse them.
The sit-in began on Saturday and was the scene of fatal clashes over the weekend as tensions grew between soldiers and members of the government’s security apparatus, who had been ordered to clear the demonstration.
Sporadic gunfire was reported when soldiers moved to thwart the security services’ operation to clear out protesters.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, another opposition union, said a total of 22 people have been killed since the sit-in protest began, including five soldiers.
Another 153 were injured, the committee said.
Al-Bashir has been in power for almost 30 years after he led a coup in the oil-rich country in 1989.
Since the country split with South Sudan in 2011, Sudan has been increasingly paralyzed by protests and instability, as well as a worsening economic crisis.