Sudan transition talks inch to finality


Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) agreed the country’s transition period would last for three years, a TMC member said, adding a final deal on the transition would be reached within 24 hours.

Lieutenant General Yasser al-Atta also said DFCF will have two-thirds of seats on a transitional legislative council and parties not part of the alliance will take the rest.

Satea al-Hajj, a DFCF member, said: “viewpoints are close and, God willing, we will reach an agreement soon” on the composition of a new sovereign council to lead the country until elections.

The TMC indicated transition would last a maximum of two years and the DFCF wanted it to last four years.

Sudan’s opposition alliance blamed military rulers for renewed street violence complicating efforts to negotiate a handover of power to civilians after last month’s overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.

Madani Abbas Madani, another DFCF figure, said it was “abundantly clear there are counter-revolutionary forces naturally displeased with any progress in negotiations”.

At least four people died and dozens were injured during protests on Monday as the TMC and opposition DFCF reached a partial agreement for transition.

Madani, speaking to a news conference alongside Atta, said the TMC had formed a committee to investigate the targeting of protesters. He added a joint committee was set up with DFCF to thwart attempts to break up a sit-in at the Defence Ministry.

Gunfire rang out in the capital on Monday night after paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – whose head is deputy of the military council –  patrolled streets using teargas and guns to disrupt demonstrations.

Protesters, who want to keep pressure on the military for a swift handover, were back on Tuesday, blocking roads and bridges with bricks and rocks, images on social media showed.

Demonstrators camped at a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry since April 6. On Tuesday, the sit-in area and eastern Khartoum were blocked off from the capital’s centre by barriers protesters erected.

“The bullets fired yesterday were Rapid Support Forces bullets and we hold the military council responsible for what happened,” Khalid Omar Youssef, a senior figure in the DFCF, told a news conference.

“While they claimed a third party was the one who did so, eyewitnesses confirmed the party was in armed forces vehicles and armed forces uniforms, so the military council must reveal this party.”


Monday’s fatalities were the first in protests for several weeks after months of demonstrations led to Bashir’s fall.

The victims included a military police officer and three demonstrators, state TV said.

The TMC, which took over after ousting the long-ruling Bashir last month, blamed violence on saboteurs unhappy with the transition accord.

The United States backed the opposition alliance pinning the blame for Monday’s chaos on the military trying to remove roadblocks set up by protesters.

“The decision by security forces to escalate the use of force, including the unnecessary use of teargas, led directly to unacceptable violence later in the day that the TMC was unable to control,” said the US Embassy in Khartoum.

One hospital in Khartoum received more than 60 wounded on Monday as well as three bodies.

Some arrived with gunshot wounds, Amar Abu Bakr, executive director of the Moalem Medical City Hospital, told Reuters.

“There are also wounds from sharp objects and others from beatings by sticks.”

Raed Mubarak, a wounded protester, said a shooter was about 20 metres away when he took aim. “He shot at my chest … he meant to kill me, not to scare or terrorise,” he said.