The Sudanese military has denied allegations that it seeks to retain power in the country, stating that the army is willing to step down within a month if practical solutions are offered.
In a televised statement earlier this morning, senior army officer Omar Zein Abideen said the military had no ambitions to hold onto power and had intervened to depose President Omar Al-Bashir in response to the wishes of the people.“We have come with no solutions. We are here to guide the country forward and act as a tool for change … We will go sit with the protestors and we hear their ambitions and have them as part of the dialogue,” Abideen said.
He further clarified that the proposed two-year transition, which many had hailed as too lengthy a time period, was only a maximum limit and that the army would be willing to step down earlier if people with practical solutions came forward.
Abideen rejected that the new council was a continuation of the old regime and said that the ousted Al-Bashir would be tried in Sudan.
The announcement comes after the military’s proposed measures were denounced by opposition parties in Sudan, who argued that the coup sought only to change the face of the regime. The suspension of the country’s constitution was also met with controversy, a move Abideen justified by the state of emergency.
Tens of thousands of protesters defied a military curfew overnight and continued their protest outside the defence ministry in Khartoum to push for a civilian government, calling for mass protests later today after Friday prayers. The Sudan Professionals’ Association (SPA), which has organised numerous rallies in recent months, called on protesters to continue the days-long sit-in for as long as was necessary.
However, Abideen warned the military would have “zero tolerance against any violation, and any misdeed to take place in any corner of the country.”
“We are here to provide an opportunity for the people of Sudan to achieve the change they have been aspiring to attain and to devise their own vision for the leadership,” he said.
Shortly after Abideen’s remarks, the SPA said in a statement that it “vehemently rejects” the outcome of the press conference and vowed to resist the state of emergency and the curfew imposed by the military.
“This is a rejection based on the experience of the Sudanese people in dealing with deception especially from the current regime,” the statement read.
The regime failed in creating a narrative that would weaken the protest movement and shake our unity … What happened was that the masks merely changed, it is the same regime that the people revolted against, seeking to remove it from its roots
Some 35 people have been killed since the start of the sit-in last Saturday, with clashes erupting between security forces and protesters. Five of the dead were soldiers who were killed protecting the demonstrators during attacks by pro-Al-Bashir militia. Hundreds more are believed to have been injured, with at least 39 in critical condition.
Demonstrations have rocked Sudan since December, initially against austerity measures and political autocracy, but broadening to calls for regime change and the departure of long term dictator President Al-Bashir.