Sudan coup leader steps down after a day
Khartoum, April 13 (IANS) The head of Sudan’s military council Awad Ibn Auf has stood down a day after leading a coup that toppled long-time leader Omar al-Bashir amid a wave of protests.
Despite Bashir’s removal on Thursday, demonstrators had refused to disperse, camping out outside the army headquarters here, defying curfew declared by the military.
On Friday, a military spokesman said the army was not seeking power and Sudan’s future would be decided by the protesters.
After Ibn Auf stepped down, the protesters celebrated his departure, with people chanting phrases like "it fell again".
Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf announced his decision on state TV. He named as his successor Lt Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, the BBC reported.
The military council has also imposed a three-month state of emergency, with the constitution suspended.
Police said at least 16 people were killed by stray bullets at protests on Thursday and Friday.
This comes after protesters refused to leave the streets, saying the coup leaders were too close to Bashir. The army had said it will stay in power for two years, followed by elections.
Bashir’s downfall followed months of unrest that began in December over rising prices.
Ibn Auf was head of military intelligence during the Darfur conflict in the 2000s. The US imposed sanctions on him in 2007.
The Sudan Professionals Association, which has been spearheading the protests, said Ibn Auf’s decision to step down was a "victory" for demonstrators.
They were demanding a transition to civilian rule before they return home.
Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the Darfur conflict. The military council had said it would not extradite Bashir to face the ICC charges, which he denies.