Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was forced to step down by the military on Thursday after three decades of autocratic power, and moves were underway to form a transitional council to run the country, Sudanese sources said.
Government sources and the minister of production and economic resources in North Darfur, Adel Mahjoub Hussein, told Dubai-based al-Hadath TV that Bashir’s presidency was over and consultations were being held on creating a ruling military council.
That Bashir, 75, was at the presidential residence under “heavy guard”. A son of Sadiq al-Mahdi, the head of the country’s main opposition Umma Party, told al-Hadath TV that Bashir was under house arrest along with “a number of leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group”.
Sudan’s army has told the nation to expect an announcement following growing protests calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down. The army’s message sparked jubilant scenes among Sudanese convinced that a coup was underway, but it remained unclear what was happening.
Thousands marched through Khartoum, some chanting: “It has fallen, we won.”
Protests against Mr Bashir, who has governed Sudan since 1989, have been underway for several months.
They were originally sparked by a rise in the cost of living but grew into a broader anti-government movement.
t was not known what would now happen to Bashir. He has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague and is facing an arrest warrant over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to the death of an estimated 300,000 people.
Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the West to weaken him.
Sudan has suffered prolonged periods of isolation since 1993 when the United States added Bashir’s government to its list of terrorism sponsors for harbouring Islamist militants. Washington followed up with sanctions four years later.
The latest crisis has escalated since the weekend when thousands of demonstrators began camping out outside the defense ministry compound, where Bashir’s residence is located.
Clashes erupted on Tuesday between soldiers trying to protect the protesters and intelligence and security personnel trying to disperse them.
At least 11 people died, including six members of the armed forces, the information minister said, citing a police report.
Since December, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages