Military Coup Ousts Islamist Dictator Omar Bashir

Deanna Kelley
April 12, 2019

Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the army on Thursday, brought down by months of anti-government protests against his decades of iron-fisted rule of nearly 30 years.

Word of al-Bashir's removal emerged in the morning, when state TV announced that the military was about to make an "important statement", and two high-ranking officials told The Associated Press that al-Bashir had been ousted. Tens of thousands of demonstrators were massed at a sit-in they have held for almost a week outside the military's headquarters in central Khartoum, the capital.

Two senior Sudanese officials say that the army has forced longtime President Omar al-Bashir to step down but the circumstances of the apparent ouster remain unclear.

The protests against al-Bashir gained a boost last week after Algeria's ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in response to weeks of similar protests against his almost 20-year rule.

Al Arabiya sources earlier confirmed that al-Bashir is set to step down and that an interim council will be announced soon.

This is a developing story...

A spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, said clashes erupted again early Tuesday between security forces and protesters who have been camping out in front of the complex in Khartoum since Saturday.

The whereabouts of the autocratic leader, who is a pariah in many countries and is also wanted by the global war crimes tribunal for atrocities in Darfur, were not immediately known.

The coup was led by paratrooper Amadou Toumani Toure, who handed power to a civilian government before he himself was elected president.

"His countless victims, and the need to establish the rule of law and signal an end to mass atrocities, demand that he be sent to the International Criminal Court to face the charges against him", he added.

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Tens of thousands of Sudanese took to the streets in the centre of Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans.

Protester Hiba Ali told the BBC that "the suspense is killing" as she and others waited for the military to tell them what was happening.

He said that al-Bashir would be kept in a "safe place". The Khartoum global airport is closed.

"Only a credible and inclusive political process can meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people and lead to the political and economic reforms the country needs", Federica Mogherini, the bloc's foreign policy chief, said in a statement.

"The armed forces will take power with representation of the people to pave the way for Sudanese people to live in dignity", he said.

"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.

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

The Turkish leader has hosted al-Bashir in the past and defended him over accusations of war crimes, saying "a Muslim can not commit genocide".

The dysfunctional administration lasted only a few years until al-Bashir - a career army officer - allied with Islamist hard-liners and toppled it in a coup in 1989.

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