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Sudan's army ousts President Omar al-Bashir

April 11, 2019

Amid growing public pressure, Sudan's military has carried out a coup against President al-Bashir. But protest organizers have accused the army of usurping power, saying civilians must lead the transitional government.

A soldier walks amid protesters in Khartoum, Sudan
Image: pictur- alliance

The Sudanese military on Thursday removed President Omar al-Bashir in a coup following months of popular protests against his three decades of iron-fisted rule.

Since mid-December, protesters have railed against a tripling of bread prices and an economic crisis that has led to a shortage of basic goods.

The latest: 

  • The military dissolved the regime, parliament and state governments, said Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf.
  • The Defense Ministry established a military council to lead a transitional government for two years until elections can be held.
  • The military took control of state radio and television stations.
  • A state of emergency was imposed for at least three months and the country's ports, borders and airports were temporarily closed.

Read more: 'The media is under siege in Sudan'

Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf
Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf will head the transitional military councilImage: picture-alliance/Xinhua/M. Khidir

Divisive 'coup'

Defense Minister Ibn Auf, who is under US sanctions for supporting genocidal militias in Darfur, said: "I announce as minister of defense the toppling of the regime and detaining its chief in a secure place."

However, protest organizers rejected the "coup conducted by the regime," saying: "We call on our people to continue their sit-in in front of army headquarters and across all regions and in the streets."

Sara Abdelgali, spokesperson for the opposition SPA, told DW: "We reject this roadmap and we consider this a coup and a recycling of the same regime members."

Egypt, which is ruled by a strongman who orchestrated a coup against the country's first democratically elected president, said it supports its neighbor's military and the "Sudanese people's choice and will."

Read more: Sudan Islamic clerics attack DW show 'Shabab Talk'

Omar al-Bashir
It is unclear what fate awaits President Omar al-Bashir following his arrestImage: Reuters/M.N. Abdallah

New 'Arab Spring'?

For months, protesters rallied against rising food prices. But the protest movement quickly morphed into a sustained challenge against al-Bashir's rule.

The protests have intensified since April 6 as thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum, which also houses al-Bashir's residence, calling for the president to step down.

Read more: Anger over dictatorship, not bread, fueling Sudan uprising

The protests against al-Bashir gained a boost last week after Algeria's ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in response to weeks of similar protests against his nearly 20-year rule.

Despite the immediate jubilation around al-Bashir's downfall, the military intervention risks replacing one dictatorship with another, dashing protesters' hopes for a civilian government and opening the way for instability.

Read more:Radio crosses borders in war-torn region 

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Map showing Sudanese capital Khartoum