The head of Sudan’s ruling military council has resigned in a speech broadcast live on state television, naming Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan as his successor.
The announcement by General Awad Ibu Auf came late on Friday as tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, demanding a civilian-led transition after the military overthrow of the country’s longtime ruler,Omar al-Bashir. Mr Ibn Ouf said: “I, the head of the military council, announce I am giving up the post,” explaining he took the decision to preserve the unity of the armed forces. Earlier, an army spokesman said it will not extradite deposed president Omar al-Bashir to The Hague to face war crimes charges, as it would be “an ugly mark on Sudan”. Mr al-Bashir, 75, is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over alleged crimes against humanity and genocide for his campaign against insurgents in Darfur. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes by militias he backed from 2003 in what has become known as this century’s first genocide.
The Colonel General promised the army would stay on only as long as it is needed, or for a maximum of two years. Despite his comments, pro-democracy protesters, who spent four months on the streets rallying against al-Bashir, continued their campaign for a civilian government. As the number of people at the sit-in grew during the afternoon, Abdelhamid Ahmed, a 24-year-old doctor, said: “We do not reject a military council in principle, but we reject these people because they are from Bashir’s regime.”The military spokesman vowed that the military council now running the country would not interfere with a civilian government, but insisted the defence and interior ministries would be under the council’s control.