Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir steps down according to government sources

Yolanda Curtis
April 12, 2019

The announcement raised expectations the statement Thursday could address almost four months of anti-government protests demanding that longtime President Omar al-Bashir step down and could be a sign that he is relinquishing power.

After almost 30 years in power, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has been ousted and arrested, the defence minister says.

"Those who destroyed the country and killed the people are seeking to steal every drop of blood and sweat that the Sudanese people poured in their revolution that shook the throne of tyranny", the statement read.

Sudan's army deployed troops around the defence ministry, while soldiers and security agency personnel were deployed on key roads and bridges in Khartoum early on Thursday, as thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the ministry, a Reuters witness said.

Protests against Mr Bashir, who has governed Sudan since 1989, have been under way for several months.

He is is a pariah in many countries and is also wanted by the global war crimes tribunal for atrocities in Darfur.

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[File, Standard] How it all began The Sudan protests started in 2018 over the rising costs of bread and fuel and quickly spiralled into calls for the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudanese activists behind months-long protests against al-Bashir said hundreds who were detained over the demonstrations have already been freed. He also graduated from another military academy in Khartoum in 1966 after his family moved to Sudan.

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and genocide, came to power in a 1989 coup.

The development followed deadly clashes between Sudanese security forces and protesters holding a large anti-government sit-in outside the military's headquarters Khartoum, which also include a presidential residence.

Sudanese opposition parties and professional associations on Thursday voiced their "total rejection" of the "military coup" that appears to have removed President Omar al-Bashir from power.

Judd Devermont, a former senior CIA Africa analyst now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pointed to the example in Algeria, where longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was ousted this month.

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The raids on NISS buildings came despite a call by protest organizers for demonstrators to refrain from attacking government figures or buildings.

Al-Bashir's current whereabouts remain unknown.

As anticipation built, state television and radio played patriotic music, reminding older Sudanese of how past military takeovers unfolded in the country, and images of recent protests.

Later in January, Bashir declared a national state of emergency that expanded police powers and banned unlicensed public gatherings.

As a young officer in the parachute regiment, he joined the armed wing of the Islamist Movement, which broke away from the Muslim Brotherhood and has ruled Sudan since Bashir took office. The protesters initially hailed the military for aiding their demand for Mr Al-Bashir's exit, but the suspension of the constitution in place of a military rule for at least another two years could further plunge the country into chaos.

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