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Sudanese celebrate after officials said the military had forced longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir to step down after 30 years in power in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, April 11, 2019. (AP Photo)
April 11, 2019 - 4:24 PM

CAIRO - The latest on developments in Sudan (all times local):

1:20 a.m. Friday

The U.S. State Department has ordered all non-essential U.S. government workers to leave Sudan, following the Sudanese military's ouster of President Omar al-Bashir after months of escalating public protests against his repressive 30-year rule.

The announcement also recommended that U.S. citizens not travel to the troubled African nation, citing the risks of "crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping and armed conflict."

After removing al-Bashir on Thursday, Sudan's military installed a council that it says will govern the country for the next two years. But pro-democracy demonstrators are vowing to keep up their campaign in the streets.

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11:15 p.m.

The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expects "the democratic aspiration of the Sudanese people will be realized through an appropriate and inclusive transition process" following the military's overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday that the U.N. chief is calling for calm and restraint by all in Sudan. He says Guterres reaffirms "that the United Nations stands ready to support the Sudanese people as they chart a way forward."

Dujarric was asked whether Guterres supports handing al-Bashir over to the International Criminal Court. The spokesman said Guterres "has routinely called for full co-operation" with the court, consistent with U.N. resolutions. But he added that the United Nations "is not in a position to comment on the issuance and execution of ICC warrants in specific cases."

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10:40 p.m.

Sudan's state-run broadcaster says Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf is being sworn in as head of a new military council that will run the country for two years.

The move is being taken after the military ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday following nearly four months of expanding protests.

The broadcaster says military chief of staff Kamal Abdel-Marouf al-Mahi will be the deputy head of the council.

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10:20 p.m.

A group organizing protests in Sudan says people are defying a curfew that has been imposed across the country after the military removed autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in response to nearly four months of escalating popular protests.

Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf on Thursday declared a monthlong 10 p.m.-4 a.m. curfew.

But the Sudanese Professional Association says pro-democracy demonstrators are staying in the streets and it is urging people to continue rallies across Sudan until they bring "the overthrow of the entire regime."

Protesters are angry over a package of measures taken by the military after al-Bashir's overthrow, including the suspension of the constitution and its announcement that a transitional military council will lead Sudan for two years

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7:30 p.m.

Sudan's military is warning protesters not to challenge a curfew that has been imposed across the country after ousting autocratic president Omar al-Bashir in response to escalating popular protests.

Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf on Thursday declared a monthlong curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The curfew is part of a package of measures taken by the military on Thursday.

A transitional military council will lead the country for two years, a measure that left pro-democracy demonstrators angry and disappointed.

The military has also suspended the constitution, closed the borders and the country's airspace.

The measures were meant to address nearly four months of anti-government protests demanding that al-Bashir step down

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7:15 p.m.

Two international rights groups are urging Sudanese military authorities to hand over ousted President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur region.

Amnesty International's secretary general, Kumi Naidoo says al-Bashir is wanted for "some of the most odious human rights violations of our generation."

Sudan's military ousted al-Bashir on Thursday in response to escalating popular protests and imposed an emergency clampdown on the country.

Naidoo also said military authorities "should ensure that emergency laws are not used to undermine people's rights."

Jehanne Henry, associate director at Human Rights Watch, said "victims of the gravest crimes in Darfur should not have to wait any longer for justice."

In the Sudanese defence minister's televised announcement of al-Bashir's arrest, he said the former president was in a "safe place," but his whereabouts were not immediately known.

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6:15 p.m.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says two years of potential military rule in Sudan "is not the answer" for "real change" in the country.

Hunt tweeted Thursday that Sudan needs "a swift move to an inclusive, representative, civilian leadership" and an end to violence.

Sudan's military ousted President Omar al-Bashir hours earlier in response to nearly four months of escalating popular protests in which dozens have been killed.

The Sudanese defence minister has announced that a military council would rule for two years. The military has also suspended the constitution and imposed an emergency clampdown that risks enflaming protesters who have demanded civilian democratic change.

Protest organizers have said they won't back a military coup and are now in discussions with the military's leadership about forming a transitional government.

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5:45 p.m.

George Clooney says overthrowing Sudan's autocratic president doesn't go far enough and has called for "dismantling" the system that kept Omar al-Bashir in power for 30 years.

The actor, director and activist said in a statement Thursday that the international community must work to guarantee that "the next president of Sudan reflects the will of its people."

Sudan's military ousted al-Bashir on Thursday in response to escalating popular protests. The defence minister announced military rule for two years, imposing an emergency clampdown that risks enflaming protesters who have demanded civilian democratic change.

Clooney called al-Bashir "the leader of a violent, corrupt system" and noted that the face of the coup, Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf, has also been sanctioned for war crimes in the Darfur region along with the ex-president.

Al-Bashir "should be extradited and tried in The Hague for those crimes," he said.

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4:35 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he hopes Sudan can overcome its upheaval peacefully through "national conciliation" and urged it to try to operate "a normal democratic process."

Speaking at a joint news conference with the president of Burkina Faso on Thursday, Erdogan repeated his disdain of coups, but refrained from voicing support for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir who was overthrown and arrested by the military.

Erdogan said: "We have deep-rooted historic relations with Sudan. We of course support the continuation of these deep-rooted ties."

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

In 2017 Sudan agreed to lease the Red Sea island of Suakin to Turkey, after Ankara requested permission to restore Ottoman-era relics. Turkey has denied claims that it wants to construct a naval base there.

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3:10 p.m.

Egypt says it is backing the removal of longtime autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir in neighbouring Sudan.

In a statement, Egypt's Foreign Ministry expressed support to the "Sudanese people's choice and will."

The statement called on the international community to help Sudan to have a peaceful transition.

Under al-Bashir, Sudan and Egypt had tense relations after Sudan supported Ethiopia's construction of a massive dam on the river Nile putting at risk Egypt's water supply.

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2:50 p.m.

Protesters who pushed for the ouster of Sudan's longtime autocratic president are continuing their defiance now that the military has wrested power from Omar al-Bashir.

Awad Abdel-Bayen, a leading figure in Sudan's Communist Party, described the military takeover of power as "giving new life to al-Bashir rule."

Activists on social media voiced rejection of the military takeover, saying, "no to the military rule" and the "Revolution continues."

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2 p.m.

Sudanese defence minister has announced the military has overthrown and arrested President Omar al-Bashir and has taken charge of the country for the next two years following nearly four months of protests against his rule.

Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf appeared on state TV, in military fatigues, following an earlier announcement of an "important statement" coming from the army on Thursday.

Ibn Ouf says after the two years, "free and fair elections" will take place.

He says a state of emergency has been imposed for the next three months and that the military has also suspended the constitution, closed borders and the country's airspace.

A transitional military council will lead the country for two years,

Ouf also said the government and the presidency have been dissolved, and imposed a night curfew.

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1:10 p.m.

Sudanese protest organizers say they won't back a military coup that has apparently forced longtime President Omar al-Bashir to step down but want a civilian transitional government in place after his ouster.

The organizers say they are now in discussions with the military's leadership about forming a transitional government. This comes as people are celebrating in the streets of Khartoum on Thursday following reports of al-Bashir's ouster.

Sarah Abdel-Jaleel, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, tells The Associated Press they will not back a military coup and insist on an "unconditional stepping down of al-Bashir and his regime."

She says there might be a military council to back the transitional government.

Sudanese activists behind months-long protests against al-Bashir say hundreds who were detained over the demonstrations have already been freed.

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12:50 p.m.

Sudan's state security agency says authorities are releasing all political detainees.

Thursday's brief statement by the National Security and Intelligence service did not indicate when the release would take place.

It comes as tens of thousands are celebrating in the streets of Khartoum amid reports that the country's longtime President Omar al-Bashir has been forced to step down by the military.

Sudanese activists behind months-long protests against al-Bashir say hundreds who were detained over the demonstrations have already been freed. The activists spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

The news come as two senior Sudanese officials said the army forced al-Bashir to step down but the circumstances of the apparent ouster remain unclear.

—Samy Magdy in Cairo;

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9:50 a.m.

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 officials say the military is now in talks about forming a transitional government. The officials, who hold high positions in the government and the military, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

They spoke ahead of an army announcement and amid reports of a coup to replace the president of 30 years following mass street protests against his rule.

The officials declined to elaborate. Al-Bashir's current whereabouts remain unknown.

—Samy Magdy in Cairo;

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9:20 a.m.

Eyewitnesses in the Sudanese capital say the military has deployed at key sites in the city to secure several installations ahead of an army announcement and amid reports of a coup to replace the country's longtime president, Omar al-Bashir.

The situation in Khartoum remains fluid and it wasn't immediately possible to confirm that al-Bashir is being ousted.

The witnesses told The Associated Press that military armoured vehicles and tanks have been parked in the streets and near bridges over the Nile River as of Thursday morning, as well as in the vicinity of the military headquarters, where thousands are anxiously waiting for the army statement.

The compound has been the scene of a large anti-government sit-in since last Saturday calling for al-Bashir's ouster. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals.

—Maggie Michael in Cairo;

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7:40 a.m.

Sudan's state TV says the country's armed forces will deliver an "important statement" and are asking the nation to "wait for it."

The announcement raised expectations the statement Thursday could address nearly four months of anti-government protests demanding that longtime President Omar al-Bashir step down and could be a sign that he is relinquishing power.

Organizers of the protests urged masses to converge and join an ongoing sit-in that has been underway in the capital, Khartoum, since the weekend.

Sudanese radio is playing military marches ahead of the announcement.

The TV s says there'll be an "important statement from the armed forces after a while, wait for it."

It comes after clashes between Sudanese security forces and protesters, after an attempt to break the sit-in, leaving 22 dead since Saturday.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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