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Sudan’s military council promises civilian government after Bashir toppled

Sudan’s ruling military council on Friday promised the country would have a new civilian government, a day after the armed forces overthrew President Omar al-Bashir, but the proposal was immediately rejected by the main protest group.

The council, which is now running Sudan under Defence Minister Mohammed Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, said it expects a pre-election transition period it announced on Thursday to last two years at most or much less if chaos can be avoided.

The council also announced that it would not extradite Bashir to face allegations of genocide at the international war crimes court. Instead he may go on trial in Sudan.

Friday’s announcement of a civilian government by the head of the military council’s political committee, General Omar Zain al-Abideen, appeared aimed at reassuring angry demonstrators who took to the streets to warn against imposing army rule after Bashir’s overthrow.

But the main protest group rejected the proposal, saying the military council was “not capable of creating change”.

In a statement, the Sudanese Professionals Association restated its demand for power to be handed immediately to “a transitional civilian government”.

Abideen pledged that the military council would not interfere with a civilian government. However he said the defense and interior ministries would be under the council’s control.

The military council is headed by Ibn Auf, who was Bashir’s vice president and defense minister and is among a handful of Sudanese commanders sanctioned by Washington for his role during the atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict.

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