Sudan’s military council resumes talks with protesters

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Protesters pass makeshift barricades on their way to the sit-in outside the Sudanese military headquarters in Khartoum (AP)

Sudan’s ruling military council was meeting with protesters to discuss the country’s political transition after talks were halted for three days while roads were cleared outside a sit-in in the capital, Khartoum.

The two sides have held several rounds of talks since the military overthrew President Omar al-Bashir last month, ending his 30-year reign after four months of mass protests and sit-ins, which are still under way.

The deputy head of the military council, General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, said on Saturday that security forces had arrested those behind an attack on the protesters last week that killed at least five people, including an army officer.

Both the military and the protesters had blamed the attack on loyalists to Mr al-Bashir.

A protester holding her child in a street leading to the sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum
A protester holding her child in a street leading to the sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum (AP)

General Dagalo, who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, said: “The assailants who opened fire (on protesters) have been caught. Their confessions will be broadcast on TV.”

He hailed the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters, for their role in Mr al-Bashir’s military overthrow on April 11.

“We want the democracy they are talking about. We want a real democracy, fair and free elections. Whoever the Sudanese choose will rule,” he said.

The negotiations were suspended on Wednesday, hours after the military and the protesters announced they had agreed on the makeup of an interim parliament and a Cabinet for the transitional period, which is to last three years.

The military council had called for the roads outside the sit-in in front of the military’s headquarters in Khartoum to be opened.

The protesters appeared to have agreed to the demand, as the roads were cleared without incident on Thursday.

The protesters also agreed to open the railway that crosses the area of the sit-in for five hours a day.

The generals and the protesters remain divided on what role the military should have in the transition to civilian rule.

Sunday’s talks are expected to focus on the makeup of the sovereign council, which would guide the nation through the transition.

The Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change said it insisted on “limited military representation” in a sovereign council led by civilians.

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