World Media

Head of Sudan's military council steps down a day after leading coup

Demonstrators salute soldiers during a protest in Khartoum on Wednesday

Sudanese military officers and demonstrators ride atop a military tanker as they protest against the army's announcement that President Omar al-Bashir would be replaced by a military-led transitional council, near Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 12, 2019.

Mr Zein Abedeen said Sudanese courts would hold al-Bashir "accountable, ' but did not specify what charges he could be prosecuted on".

The demonstrations against Bashir's 30-year rule first erupted in December, triggered by a tripling of the bread prices in one of the world's most impoverished countries.

He pledged the military would stay on only as long as it's needed, or for a maximum of two years.

The press conference came after protesters defied a three-month curfew imposed by the military after the take over.

Demonstrators who have been holding nearly daily anti-Bashir protests have rejected the decision to set up a transitional military council and vowed to continue protests until a civilian government is established.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called for a transition that would meet the "democratic aspirations" of the Sudanese people and appealed for "calm and utmost restraint by all", his spokesperson said.

Clooney called al-Bashir "the leader of a violent, corrupt system" and noted that the face of the coup, Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf, has also been sanctioned for war crimes in the Darfur region along with the ex-president.

He said the two-year period was the maximum and said the military would rule only as long as needed, suggesting it could hand over power earlier.

Now that Bashir is gone, Sudan is facing the reality after revolution: Chaos or democracy.

Protesters who were initially jubilant over word of the coup reacted by saying they will not end their almost week-long sit-in outside the military's headquarters in central Khartoum until a civilian transition government is formed.

"We are the protectors of the demands of the people", he said.

Thousands remained camped out near military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, on Friday, ignoring a curfew declared by the military.

"We are used to hearing government double-speak but we need to see if they're really interested in dialogue and listening to the voices of the people".

Since the appointment of Ibn Ouf as military council chief, the protesters had turned their anger against him.

In Algeria, hopes among the protesters rose briefly last week when army chief Gen. Gaid Salah, responding to weeks of street protests, forced the ailing 82-year-old Bouteflika to step down from the presidency. The Sudanese official news agency SUNA reported that Ibn Ouf postponed this step, pending "further consultations".

"We are all celebrating in one way or another", said David Atem, who fled Sudan and came to Winnipeg in 2001.

He also said a three-month state of emergency was being put in place.

What Sudan needs at this stage is a transition to democratic rule led by a civilian transitional government that will be tasked with conducting reforms and paving the way to free and fair elections.