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UN chief urges 'democratic transition' in Sudan

The UN chief made the remarks just hours after Bashir's fall [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 April, 2019

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a transition in Sudan that meets the "democratic aspiration" of the Sudanese people after president Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the army.

The UN chief called for a transition in Sudan that meets the "democratic aspiration" of the Sudanese people on Thursday, just hours after president Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the army.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for "calm and utmost restraint by all," his spokesman said.

The remarks came after Sudan's Defence Minister Awad Ibnouf earlier announced that Bashir had been detained and that a transitional military council will replace him for a period of two years.

The UN chief voiced his "expectation that the democratic aspiration of the Sudanese people will be realised through an appropriate and inclusive transition process," said spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Bashir, who swept to power in a 1989 coup, was one of Africa's longest-serving presidents. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes.

The UN spokesman said that Guterres has repeatedly called for "full cooperation" with the ICC but added that the United Nations was not in a position to comment on specific cases involving ICC arrest warrants.

The UN Security Council was expected to meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the dramatic developments in Sudan, which has been an important regional player in peace efforts in the region.

Meanwhile, jubilation at the fall of Bashir quickly soured in Khartoum when protesters realised the old regime had no plans to go.

"This is a farce. The regime did not fall. This is a reproduction of the same regime," one demonstrator told AFP, gesturing emphatically.

"This man (Bashir) is a bloodthirsty leader and he is wanted, he brings us another regime. This is completely unacceptable," added another.

As activists began telling protesters not to leave the site despite the curfew, one woman in a bright red headscarf also dismissed Thursday's events.

"Ibnouf and Bashir are two sides of the same coin," she told AFP. "As youth and citizens we see what's happening, the government is manipulating us.”

Thousands of people had flooded the centre of the capital Khartoum from early morning, cheering, waving flags and even kissing and hugging soldiers as they danced on armoured vehicles.

But after the army's announcement the celebrations evaporated, and the tone hardened.

"We are not leaving, we are not leaving. Just fall and that's all," some protesters in front of the army headquarters began chanting.

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