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Sudan police kill 16 as protestors maintain heavy street presence

A protest demanding Sudan military council to  step down, handover over power to civilian government. (PHOTO/AGENCY)

KHARTOUM – At least 16 people were killed and 20 others injured by stray bullets at protests and sit-ins on Thursday and Friday, a Sudanese police spokesman said in a statement on Saturday as the nation waited to hear from its newly appointed leader.

Government buildings and private property were also attacked, spokesman Hashem Ali added.

The release of the death toll comes hours after the Sudanese military replaced the country’s transitional leader who had been in power only one day.

Defence Minister General Awad ibn Auf, announced he was stepping down as head of the ruling military council. (PHOTO/FILE)

Thousands of jubilant protesters celebrated in the streets of Khartoum on Friday, after Defence Minister General Awad ibn Auf, announced he was stepping down as head of the ruling military council.

He had been named the de facto leader after President Omar al-Bashir was forced out of office on Thursday after 30 years of rule.

Mr. Ibn Auf said he would be replaced by General Abdel Fattah Burhan, general inspector of the armed forces, as head of the transitional council, which will rule the country for two years until elections.

“This is for the benefit of our nation … This country has great people and a great army,” Mr. Ibn Auf said in a brief TV statement, adding that he hoped the civilians and the military would work together.

New leader
Mr. Burhan, who was appointed as Mr. al-Bashir’s chief of staff and head of the ground forces in February, is expected to speak to the nation on Saturday.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reporting from Khartoum said the demonstrators “have been very clear that their desire is to see Sudan led by a civilian government. Not one led by the military.”

While it’s not clear whether Mr. Burhan will hand power to a civilian leader she said protesters might be more receptive to Mr. Burhan than his predecessors.

“Most people are hopeful because Abdel Fattah [Burhan] is not from the ruling party. He also does not have any political affiliation. He doesn’t have the same tainted history as axed President, Omar al-Bashir and Mr. Awad Ibn Auf.

Both were accused of war crimes in the region of Darfur,” she said.

Hajooj Kuka, an activist, said removing al-Bashir and his allies was the first step to meeting the demands of the protesters.

“We expect after everything settles down to have whoever that committed a crime to be punished. And that should include anyone who has been part of this regime that has committed a crime. It could take a while but we need to have justice,” Kuka told Al Jazeera.

Earlier on Friday, the military council had assured the country that they had “no ambitions” to permanently rule the East African nation.

After nearly 30 years in power, Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir was ousted and arrested, the defence minister announced. (PHOTO/FILE) 

The council also said a two-year timeline for the military to rule was not set in stone and promised that it would be dissolved as soon as a solution to the political crisis had been found.

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