Sudan military vows to reform intelligence service amid protests | News

Sudan‘s ruling military council has announced a raft of concessions aimed at appeasing protesters calling for a civilian-led transition to democracy following the overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir.

Shams Eldin Kabashi, a spokesman for the council, vowed on Sunday to restructure the widely feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), a key demand from the political parties and movements behind the months-long protests that triggered Bashir’s removal by the armed forces. 

Activists accuse NISS forces of violently cracking down on protests as well as an ongoing sit-in outside the army headquarters, killing dozens of protesters and wounding hundreds more. 

Kabashi said the council has appointed Lieutenant General Abu Bakr Mustafa to head the NISS following the recent resignation of Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, known as Salah Gosh.

He also  announced the removal of General Awad Ibn Auf from his post as defence minister.

The general had initially assumed power, taking oath as the head of a military council that he said would rule the country for a two year-transitional period, but was forced to step down a day later in the face of mass protests for a civilian-led transitional administration. 

Ibn Auf was replaced by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who pledged on Saturday to “uproot the regime” of al-Bashir, release detained protesters and hold talks with all political parties and groups behind the months-long protests. 




Sudan’s military holds talks with protesters as curfew lifted (2:46)

Hours later, a 10-member delegation representing the protesters delivered their demand to the council. They included an immediate handover of power to a civilian-led body, reforms to the NISS and release of protesters. 

‘We will never leave’

On Sunday, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which spearheaded the protests, said they will keep up street demonstrations until a civilian transitional government, as outlined in the so-called Declaration of Freedom and Change signed by various political and professional groups in January, is formed.

In a nine-point list of demands, the SPA also called for a freeze on the assets of top officials of al-Bashir’s government, dismissal of all top judges and prosecutors, and the arrest of al-Bashir, Gosh and Mohamed Atta, a former NISS head who was appointed as Sudan’s envoy to Washington last year.

In his statement, Kabashi said Atta had been sacked from his post.

Khartoum’s ambassador in Geneva had also been removed, he said, adding that all police officers arrested for participating in the protests would also be freed. The council will also form a committee to take over the assets of al-Bashir’s party, he added. 

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from the capital, Khartoum, said the military’s concessions amounted to “less than what some people wanted”.

Reforming NISS, while significant, “was not the main issue standing between the two sides – the main issue was how will the military council operate under the transitional government,” said Morgan. 

“There were concerns from the political parties that the military council will oversee the government and that’s something they do not want. They want an independent government in which the military council serves only as a protector.”

Protesters at the Khartoum sit-in, meanwhile, said the council’s reforms did not go far enough and called on the ruling body to hand over power immediately.

“We will never leave this square, our only [means of] power to put pressure on this military council is our sit-in here, so we will continue until we achieve all our demands,” Randa Mohamed, 22, told Al Jazeera.

Fellow demonstrator Mohamed Atia, 39, agreed.

“We still need the power to be transferred to the civilians and [for] the dissolution of the ruling party and the militias of the ruling party [to take place],” Atia said.



Sudanese protesters demand the country’s military rulers ‘immediately’ hand power over to a civilian government [Ahmed Mustafa / AFP]

Earlier on Sunday, the military council met with some political parties in Khartoum and urged them to agree on an “independent figure” to lead Sudan as prime minister. 

“We, your brothers in the armed forces, are asking you to support us with your initiatives to brave through the transitional period,” said General Yasir Atta. “We need and hope all of you within a short span of time come to a consensus and agreement upon one figure, a patriotic independent person, to lead the government.”

The military wants to hold on to the interior and defence ministries in any transitional government, he said. 

Sudan’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, urged the international community to back the country’s military council to help facilitate a “democratic transition”. 

Al-Burhan was “committed to having a complete civilian government and the role of the council will be to maintain the sovereignty of the country,” the ministry said, adding that he intended to prepare an environment for political parties and civil society to build themselves up “in order to have a peaceful transition of power”.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates issued statements in support of the transitional military council. 

Saudi Arabia said it “stands by the Sudanese people” and called on all Sudanese “to give priority to the national interest” of their country. The UAE called on the Sudanese “to work for protecting legitimacy and ensuring a peaceful transfer of power”.

Saudi King Salman ordered an unspecified package of aid for Sudan that includes petroleum products, wheat and medicine.

Mohammed Amin contributed to this report from Khartoum

Source

more recommended stories

  • Record number of people murdered in Mexico this year | News

    Violence in Mexico has hit new.

  • Sri Lanka bombings: All the latest updates | Sri Lanka News

    A series of coordinated explosions has rocked.

  • Sri Lanka Easter bombings: Mass casualties in churches and hotels | News

    A series of bombings has hit.

  • Will Egyptian President Sisi’s mandate be extended? | Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

    Millions of Egyptians are heading to.

  • Gaza fishermen: Israel extending fishing zone is token gesture | News

    Gaza Strip – Under cover of.

  • US man arrested for threatening Democratic politicians | USA News

    Police arrested a Florida man on.

  • US Democrat Nadler subpoenas full, unredacted Mueller report | USA News

    United States House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

  • Mali’s PM Maiga, government resign over Ogossagou massacre | News

    Mali‘s prime minister and his government.

  • Libya death toll rises to 205 as Tripoli fighting continues: WHO | News

    At least 205 people have been.

  • Magnitude 6.1 earthquake hits east Taiwan, no major damage | News

    A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck.

  • Mueller report to be released on Thursday: 5 things to look for | News

    US Attorney General William Barr has.

  • Ethiopia: Former jail to become museum | Ethiopia News

    The administration of Ethiopia‘s southeastern Somali.

  • Voting underway in Indonesia’s biggest election | News

    Indonesians have started voting to choose.

  • Why is Notre Dame important to France? | France News

    Notre Dame Cathedral is one of.

  • Jailed Reuters journalists honoured with Pulitzer Prize | News

    Two jailed reporters for the Reuters.

  • Are foreign powers worsening the conflict in Libya? | Middle East

    Libya’s rival forces are intensifying their.

  • India’s poll body accused of bias as election complaints pile up | India News

    New Delhi, India – In 2011,.

  • Russia in Africa: Inside a military training centre in CAR | Central African Republic

    Russia is back in the Central.

  • Think you can survive in Bangkok’s art world?

    Curate an art exhibition and survive.

  • Sudan’s military removes al-Bashir: All the latest updates | News

    Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has been.

  • British MPs say WikiLeaks’ Assange should face justice in Sweden | News

    More than 70 British members of.

  • ‘Not pawns’: US mayors decry Trump’s sanctuary city threat | USA News

    Democratic US mayors said on Friday.

  • Algerians take to the streets as anger mounts at interim leader | Algeria News

    Algerian police tried but failed to.

  • ‘Guard your revolution’: Sudan protests continue despite curfew | News

    Organisers of the months-long demonstrations that.

  • US charges WikiLeaks’ Assange with ‘computer hacking conspiracy’ | News

    Washington, DC – US prosecutors have charged.

  • India elections: Voting under way for first phase | India News

    Indians are voting in the first.

  • US, China ‘agree to establish trade deal enforcement offices’ | News

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

  • New Zealand passes gun law reform in wake of Christchurch attack | New Zealand News

    Auckland, New Zealand – New Zealand’s.

  • Israel elections: Netanyahu and main rival in tight race | News

    Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was.

  • Hope blossoms in spring as Afghans keep close eye on peace talks | Asia

    Asasabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan – The.

  • Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ protest leaders found guilty | News

    Hong Kong – A Hong Kong.

  • Three US troops, one contractor killed in Afghanistan explosion | Afghanistan News

    Three US service members and a.