Violence flares after deal on Sudan transitional power structure

At least one protester and one army major have been killed in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, hours after protest leaders and the ruling generals reached a deal on transitional authorities to run the country following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir last month.

The flare-up of violence on Monday came as the prosecutor general’s office said al-Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during the mass protests that led to the end of his 30-year rule on April 11.

Crowds of protesters have since remain camped outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum, vowing to force the transitional military council that replaced al-Bashir to hand over power to a civilian-led administration.

The major was killed and three soldiers were wounded along with many protesters and civilians when “unidentified elements” fired shots at the sit-in, the ruling military council said. Local doctors said some of those wounded were in serious condition.

A protester, too, was killed at the sit-in after he was shot in the chest, according to a doctors’ committee associated with the protesters.

The umbrella protest movement, the Freedom and Change alliance, said the violence was to “disturb the breakthrough in the negotiations”, blaming the bloodshed on the former rulers.

On Monday morning, police and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) dismantled barricades and dispersed about 100 protesters who had blocked a road leading from Khartoum North to al-Mek Nimir Bridge and the centre of the capital.

For a second day, demonstrators blocked Nile Street, a major avenue running south of the Blue Nile, placing burning branches and stones across the road, as well as several other streets north and south of the river.

Later, RSF men used gunfire to disperse protesters next to Blue Nile bridge and thick clouds of tear gas were fired near Jumhuriya Street south of the river, where the RSF were seen beating a rickshaw driver as they patrolled in vehicles armed with sticks and guns, witnesses told Reuters News Agency.

Apparent breakthrough

Meanwhile, talks between the military and an opposition alliance over the handing to civilian rule resumed on Monday, with both sides saying they had produced agreement on the duties and authorities of sovereign, executive and legislative bodies.

“We discussed the structure of the transitional authority and agreed on it completely, and we also agreed on the system of governance in the transitional period,” said Lieutenant General Shams al-Din Kabashi, spokesman of the transitional military council.

“We will continue tomorrow with talks on the ratio of participation on the sovereign level … and the length of the transitional period,” he said. “God willing, we will agree on these two points.”

Taha Osman, a spokesman for the protest movement, confirmed a deal had been reached following a deadlock in negotiations.

“At today’s meeting, we agreed on the structure of the authorities and their powers,” Osman told the AFP news agency.

“The authorities are as follows – the sovereign council, the cabinet and the legislative body,” he said.

Osman also said that another meeting would be held on Tuesday “to discuss the period of transition and the composition of the authorities”.

The generals insist the transitional period should be two years, while protesters want it to be four years.

Al-Bashir charged

The apparent breakthrough came as Sudan‘s acting prosecutor general Al-Waleed Sayyed Ahmed said al-Bashir “and others have been charged for inciting and participating in the killing of demonstrators”.

The charges form part of an investigation into the death of a medic killed during a protest in the capital’s eastern district of Burri, his office said in a statement.

Ninety people were killed in protest-related violence after demonstrations initially erupted in December over a government decision to triple the price of bread, the doctors’ committee said last month. The official death toll is 65.

Earlier this month, the public prosecutor ordered al-Bashir to be interrogated on charges of money laundering and financing terrorism.

There has been no comment from al-Bashir, who is in prison in Khartoum.

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