In Summary
  • Mr Al Bashir came to power as a little-known general in 1989 during an Islamist and military-backed coup. In the following years, he purged Islamists and insiders from his party.
  • He tightened his control by building up an array of competing security forces and militias, as well as the regular army.

Sudan’s military has ousted President Omar al-Bashir, according to a Defence minister announcement issued Thursday.

The ouster ends a 30-year authoritarian rule in the face of mass street protests that have swept the country.

Mr Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, the Defence minister, said that Mr Al Bashir had been taken into custody, and that the government had been dissolved and the Constitution suspended.

He announced a 10pm curfew and said there will be a two-year transition period, with the military in charge.

Mr Al Bashir, 75, long regarded as a pariah in the West and wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on genocide charges in connection with atrocities in Darfur, had ruled Sudan longer than any leader since the country gained independence in 1956.

DETAINEES

Before the announcement, protesters demanding his ouster had gathered outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, the capital.

They shouted a chant addressed to the President: “You’ve been dancing for 30 years. Today it’s our turn to dance.”

“It’s a huge day for Sudan’s people, it’s a revolution day,” a man in the crowd, Elsamawal Alshafee, 32, said by phone.

The jubilation was tempered by a wary uncertainty about what will come next.

A senior official said that leaders of the military and security services were debating privately about the membership and structure of the transitional government.

A State news agency reported that political detainees were being released.

REGIME CHANGE

Some leaders of the demonstrations called for caution as they awaited the statement from the military.

Those calling for Mr Al Bashir’s ouster would not be satisfied if he were simply replaced by another general, said Ms Sara Abdelgalil, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, which is organising the protests.

“We have asked for people to continue the sit-in,” she said. “The uprising continues.”

The protests will continue “until there is a complete step-down of the whole regime,” she said. “We insist on a civil government, and we don’t support any coup.”

Mr Al Bashir came to power as a little-known general in 1989 during an Islamist and military-backed coup. In the following years, he purged Islamists and insiders from his party, and demonstrated a knack for political survival.

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