The Dallas Morning News
Coup ends Sudan leader’s 30year rule
Twoyear planned rule, however, further angers protesters
Sudan’s military overthrows President Omar albashir after months of bloody street protests over his repressive 30year rule.
CAIRO — Sudan’s military overthrew President Omar albashir on Thursday after months of bloody street protests over his repressive 30year rule. But prodemocracy demonstrators were left angry and disappointed when the defense minister announced the armed forces will govern the country for the next two years.
Albashir’s fall came just over a week after Algeria’s longruling, militarybacked president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was driven from power.
Together, the developments echoed the Arab Spring uprisings eight years ago that brought down entrenched rulers across the Mideast. But like those popular movements of 2011, the new ones face a similar dynamic — a struggle over what happens after an autocrat’s removal.
Protest organizers in Sudan denounced the army’s takeover and vowed to continue rallies until a civilian transitional government is formed. Tens of thousands of demonstrators were massed at a sitin they have held for nearly a week outside the military’s headquarters in central Khartoum, the capital.
After the televised announcement of albashir’s arrest by Defense Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf many protesters chanted angrily, “The first one fell, the second will, too!” Some shouted, “They removed a thief and brought in a thief!”
Ibn Ouf said a military council that will be formed by the army, intelligence agencies and security apparatus will rule for two years, after which “free and fair elections” will take place.
He also announced that the military had suspended the constitution, dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency for three months, closed the country’s borders and airspace and imposed a curfew starting Thursday night.
In the wake of the coup, international human rights groups urged Sudanese military authorities to hand over the 75yearold albashir to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for his deadly campaign against insurgents in the country’s Darfur region.
Amnesty International’s secretary general, Kumi Naidoo, said albashir is wanted for “some of the most odious human rights violations of our generation.”
Albashir, whose whereabouts were not immediately known, came to power in a coup of his own in 1989, backed by the military and Islamist hardliners. He kept an iron grip on power and brutally suppressed any opposition, while monopolizing the economy through allied businessmen.
Over his three decades in control, he was forced to allow the secession of South Sudan after years of war, a huge blow to the north’s economy. He became an international pariah over the bloodletting in Darfur. And the U.S. targeted his government repeatedly with sanctions and airstrikes for his support of Islamic militants.