April 30, 2019
By Khalid Abdelaziz
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s military rulers said they were ready to negotiate with the opposition over the political future of the country but there should be no further unrest beyond Tuesday, a reference to protests disrupting trains and bridges.
Opposition groups and protesters have been pressing the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to speed up the move to civilian rule since the army ousted former president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.
“We are ready to negotiate but no chaos after today,” said the TMC’s deputy head Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who goes by the nickname Hemedti. “We told them, continue with the sit-in, but the train is connected to delivering fuel,” he added.
The main organisers of the protests – the Sudanese Professionals Association – called on Monday for civil disobedience and a general strike as meetings with the TMC failed to provide any breakthrough on the creation of a joint civilian-military transitional council.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the military said it would not disperse a protest sit-in that has been taking place outside the defence ministry since April 6.
The sit-in, the culmination of months of demonstrations against Bashir’s three-decade rule, carried on after the army removed him from power, as protesters demanded civilian rule.
“We have no interest in dispersing the sit-in but it’s in the interest of the Sudanese people to open the roads,” said Lieutenant General Salah Abdelkhalek, a TMC member.
He also distanced the TMC from the previous government.
“We are part of the revolution and not part of the former regime as people view us.”
During the press conference, the TMC also said it had accepted the resignations of three TMC members. The SPA had demanded that the three be dismissed over their alleged role in a crackdown that killed dozens of protesters.
One of the three members, who resigned last week, was Lieutenant-General Omar Zain al-Abideen who headed the TMC’s political committee. The other two were Lieutenant-General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh and Lieutenant-General Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel.
(Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Lena Masri; Editing by Peter Graff and Andrew Heavens)