Sudan’s military rulers arrest ousted president’s brothers

The military council, which took over after al-Bashir’s ouster, said the former president was transferred on Tuesday to a prison in the capital, Khartoum.

18 April 2019 | 13:17

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 18 April 2019 | 13:17

A protesters mans a checkpoint at entrance number three to the sit-in inside the Armed Forces Square, in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (AP Photo)

KHARTOUM, Sudan: Sudan’s new military rulers say two brothers of ousted President Omar al-Bashir have also been arrested, over corruption.

The official news agency SUNA is quoting the spokesman of the military council, Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi, as saying on Thursday that Abdullah and Abbas al-Bashir were arrested as part of the sweep against officials from the former government.

The Sudanese military ousted Omar al-Bashir last week, after four months of street protests against his 30-year rule marred by conflict, civil war and corruption. Al-Bashir is also wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for atrocities committee in the western region of Darfur.

The military council, which took over after al-Bashir’s ouster, said the former president was transferred on Tuesday to Koper Prison in the capital, Khartoum, a facility notorious for holding political prisoners under al-Bashir. The military has also arrested a number of al-Bashir’s close associates and former government officials.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been spearheading the anti-government street protests since mid-December, released Wednesday together with several opposition groups a proposed blueprint for the transfer of power from the military to a civilian government.

Though the street protesters were overjoyed at al-Bashir’s ouster, they were not happy with the military taking over and have demanded a swift handover of power to civilian rule.

The military council has said it plans to rule for a maximum of two years as they country prepares for new elections.

The protesters fear the army, dominated by al-Bashir appointees, will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed him. They have vowed to carry on with their protests, focused around a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, until the transfer of power is complete.

The two-page blueprint posted online envisages a civilian presidential council made up of “revolutionary figures” and a defense minister, the only representative from the military.

It also proposes the formation of a Cabinet of technocrats to run daily affairs of the state and a legislative council to draft laws and oversee the Cabinet until a new constitution is written.

“We have to continue our sit-ins until a transitional civilian authority takes over,” the document says. “We have faith that our people’s victory is coming and that no power can stop our people from achieving all their goals.”

It’s not clear what will happen next to al-Bashir, a pariah in any countries. The military has said it would not extradite him to the ICC but has not ruled out that a future civilian government could someday hand him over to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir offered to mediate in Sudan’s political crisis. In a letter seen by The Associated Press, Kiir this week pledged his support for a transition where the rights of the Sudanese people are protected and offered to “mediate the on-going negotiations” among various groups.

Some in South Sudan are concerned that al-Bashir’s departure will hurt their country’s fragile peace deal, which al-Bashir helped broker. South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in 2011, following decades of civil war.

But they new country subsequently sank into its own civil war, which ended with an agreement signed in September. The deal calls for opposition leader Riek Machar to return to South Sudan next month to once again become Kiir’s deputy, though that looks increasingly unlikely as tensions continue.

One political analyst called Kiir’s offer of mediation over al-Bashir a “hypocritical public relations” stunt.

“It doesn’t make sense. You cannot leave your house in a mess and claim to clean your neighbor’s house,” Jacob Chol, professor at the University of Juba, told the AP.

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