On Friday Sudan’s ruling mediators and protest leaders reached an agreement on the contentious issue of a new governing body, mediators said, amidst groundbreaking talks aimed at ending the country’s political crisis that had been dragging on for months.
The generals had already agreed on a broad civilian structure, but discussions between the two parties failed in May following a disagreement over the choice of a future governing body: a civilian or a soldier.
African Union mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt told reporters.
“The two sides agreed on establishing a sovereign council with a rotating military and civilian (presidency) for a period of three years or little more,”
Sudan has been shaken by a political crisis since the army overthrew leader Omar al-Bashir in April after on the back of widespread protests and the ruling generals resisted protesters’ demand to transfer power to a civilian administration.
Deputy chief of the ruling military council,
“We want to reassure all political forces and armed movements and all those who took part in the change that this agreement is all inclusive and does not exclude anyone,”
Tension between the two sides had further soared after a brutal raid on a longstanding protest camp outside army headquarters on June 3, in the capital Khartoum that killed dozens of demonstrators and wounded hundreds.
On Sunday, protest leaders managed to mobilise tens of thousands of supporters in the first mass protest against the generals since the raid.
The mass rally had been seen as a test for the protest leaders’ ability to mobilise crowds after the generals imposed a widespread internet blackout and deployed security forces in the capital’s key squares and districts, its twin city Omdurman and other towns and villages.
On Thursday hundreds of students from several schools in three towns Madani, Gadaref and Sinnar staged spontaneous protests chanting “civilian rule, civilian rule”, witnesses said.
The leader of the protest, Ahmed al-Rabie, said earlier Thursday’s talks that we should focus on who should lead the new governing body.
“We believe that symbolically the head of the state must be a civilian,”
Rebel Ahmed Hussein told AFP after being released, referring to the now-disappeared party of Bashir.
“Today we are really very excited …we were in hell under the former regime of the National Congress Party… today we are free from marginalisation,”
On Thursday a group of 235 fighters from a faction of a Darfur rebel group that is part of the protest movement were released as decided during the talks.
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