African Union pressures Sudan to hand over power to civilians

The African Union has threatened to suspend Sudan’s membership unless the military council that has swept power in the country hands it over to civilians.

On Monday, the pan-African body called the council’s recent ousting of the government of decades-long President Omar al-Bashir a “coup.” The overthrow last week came following five months of thousands-strong protests by a public weary of poverty and the central government’s policies.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) said in a statement that if the junta fails to hand power to civilians within 15 days, the AU will suspend “the participation of the Sudan in all AU’s activities until the restoration of constitutional order.”

“A military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan,” it added.

The protesters have stayed on the streets, likewise demanding a power transition. The military has, meanwhile, been reported trying to disperse a gigantic sit-in staged in support of the public’s demands by surrounding the protesters and removing some of the barricades they have set up.

Also on Monday, Mohamed Naji, a senior leader of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been leading the protests, repeated the demand that the military council be scrapped. “We want the military council to be dissolved and be replaced by a civilian council having representatives of the army,” he said.

Protesters’ representatives have given a 12-item list of demands to the council, which has so far withheld an official response to it.

A day earlier, the council met with political parties, urging them to agree on an “independent figure” to be prime minister, AFP reported.

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