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Sudan's military head resigns after one day, army says 'not a coup'

Sudan's military head resigns after one day, army says 'not a coup'”

Sudan's Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf has stepped down as leader of the new Military Transitional Council, he said, a day after ousting the president.

Mr Ibn Auf was head of military intelligence during the Darfur conflict and the United States imposed sanctions on him in 2007.

Long-time President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown and arrested on Thursday after months of street protests.

"He's never been in the limelight like Ibn Ouf or General Kamal Abdelmarouf", the officer said, referring to the army's former chief of staff.

Gosh had overseen a sweeping crackdown led by NISS agents against protesters taking part in four months of mass demonstrations that led up to the toppling of longtime president Omar al-Bashir in a palace coup by the army on Thursday.

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.

Ouf, on a US sanctions list for Darfur genocide along with his former boss al-Bashir, was sworn in on Friday as head of the new military transitional council that has taken charge for the next two years.

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Thursday's brief statement by the National Security and Intelligence service did not indicate when the release would take place. State TV ceased regular broadcasts, showing only the statement promising the statement and urging the public to "wait for it".

"Citizens are advised to stick to it for their safety", it said, adding: "The armed forces and the security council will carry out its duty to uphold peace and security and protect citizens' livelihoods".

Groups like this are everywhere, said one demonstrator as behind him musicians played traditional Sudanese and African tunes. China said it would continue to seek cooperation with Sudan regardless of the political situation.

The protests against him escalated last Saturday when thousands of demonstrators, apparently bolstered by change in Algeria following similar protests, marched towards the Defense Ministry in Khartoum to deliver a memorandum demanding the military side with them.

Sudan's protests began in December, sparked by price hikes and shortages, but quickly escalated into an Arab Spring-inspired uprising against al-Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 Islamist-backed military coup.

"I invite all the people of Sudan, including political parties and civil society groups to engage in dialogue", al-Burhan said in his first televised address to the nation.

The leader was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after allegations of genocide in Sudan's Darfur region surfaced.

"Juba puts activities on halt over Sudan's crisis", South Sudan cabinet minister Dr Elia Lomoro commented on Bashir exit.

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Later on Saturday, the military council has accepted the resignation of Salah Gosh, the director of the National Intelligence and Security Service, the state television reported.

He says the ouster "was not a coup" but a response to the people's demands.

Large crowds have remained on the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, ignoring a night-time curfew declared by the country's new military council.

The Sudanese military has since taken over power and has announced that it will hand over back to a civilian leader after two years.

"We do not reject a military council in principle, but we reject these people because they are from Bashir's regime", said Abdelhamid Ahmed, a 24-year-old doctor.

The transitional period will last for a maximum of two years, he noted.

The Sudan Doctors Committee, an affiliate of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been spearheading the protests, said 13 people were shot dead on Thursday and three others, including the soldier, were killed Friday.

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