Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has ruled the country for nearly 30 years has stepped down and that consultations are underway to form a transitional council.
Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf addressed the nation Thursday afternoon, announcing that al-Bashir had been arrested “in a safe place.” He called for a state of emergency for three months and a transitional period of two years, as well as a national ceasefire.
He spoke about the growing inequality that had gripped the country, and noted that “despite all the suffering, despite all the lies, despite all the false promises, the Sudanese were patient, the Sudanese were tolerant, and the Sudanese were generous.”
Defense Minister Ibn Auf has said that Bashir is in custody but did not give further details. He promised “free and fair elections” for Sudan at the end of the two-year transitional period.
He added: “Sudan’s cabinet, its National Assembly and municipal bodies have been dissolved, and the country’s constitution suspended. The judiciary, public prosecution, embassies and diplomatic entities will continue to function as normal.”
Troops are deployed to key roads and bridges in Khartoum, amid speculation that a coup attempt could be underway against the embattled president after months of anti-government protests across the Northeast African country.
In a separate development on Thursday, a team of Sudanese soldiers purportedly raided the offices of a group linked to Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum.
Sudan has been struggling with protests since December 17 last year, when an anti-government campaign erupted over price hikes and shortages of food and fuel. That initial public display of anger quickly spiraled into calls for the 75-year-old Bashir to resign.
The embattled president declared a state of emergency, dissolved the central government, and replaced state governors with security officials. But the protests did not stop.