President Of African Oil Producer Sudan Toppled In Military Coup

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir steps down according to government sources

President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan in autocratic style for 30 years, was overthrown and arrested in a coup by the armed forces on Thursday, but protesters took to the streets demanding the military hand over power to civilians.

A political hardliner and controversial leader of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, has stepped down after 30 years in power, reports say Thursday.

At least 22 people have been killed in clashes with security forces, according to activists.

The announcement raised expectations the statement Thursday could address almost 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.

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.

After the televised announcement of al-Bashir's arrest by Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf - who is under US sanctions for links to atrocities in Sudan's Darfur conflict - many protesters chanted angrily, "The first one fell, the second will, too!"

Shortly after the announcement, Twitter users circulated photos showing former detainees being welcomed by protesters as they joined demonstrations against Omar al-Bashir.

Khartoum's airport was also shut and increased deployments of armoured vehicles around the city were reported overnight.

Sudanese protesters march towards the military headquarters during an anti-regime rally in the capital Khartoum on April 11, 2019.

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The United States considers Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism and has placed economic sanctions on the country but also maintains a security relationship that involves cooperation on intelligence and counterterrorism.

Omar Saleh Sennar, a senior member of the Sudanese Professionals' Association, said it expected to negotiate with the military over a transfer of power. It was Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf who called on Sudan's law enforcement agencies to refrain from violently opposing the protesters, who have been staging a massive sit-in by army headquarters since April 6.

The protests were initially fueled by anger over the deteriorating economy but quickly turned to demands for the president's ouster, and gained momentum last week after Bouteflika's resignation in Algeria.

Speaking at a joint news conference with the president of Burkina Faso on Thursday in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Erdogan refrained from voicing support for al-Bashir.

Bashir has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over allegations of genocide in Sudan's Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003.

In the wake of the coup, worldwide human rights groups urged Sudanese military authorities to hand over the 75-year-old al-Bashir to the global Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for his deadly campaign against insurgents in the country's Darfur region.

Organisers of a sit-in outside the defence ministry since the weekend had vowed to remain in the streets until "the regime steps down completely and power is handed to a civilian transitional government".

In February, it looked as though the president might step down, but instead Mr Bashir declared a state of national emergency. General Awad Ibn Aufannounced that Bashir had been arrested and a military-led transitional government will rule for two years.

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