Bashir reshuffles top military staff

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir reshuffled senior military staff a day after announcing sweeping new security powers to contend with anti-government protests, the most sustained street opposition to his 30-year rule.

Several members of Sudan’s eight-strong military staff council switched positions and General Essam al-Din Mubarak, former deputy head of the council, was given a new position as minister of state in the defence ministry.

“These are normal, routine changes that happen from time to time,” a military spokesman said.

Bashir announced a nationwide state of emergency last Friday and issued a raft of edicts on Monday banning unlicensed public gatherings and giving sweeping new powers to police.

Security forces now have the power to search any building, restrict movement of people and public transport, arrest individuals suspected of crime related to the state of emergency and seize assets or property during investigations.

The public prosecutor said emergency prosecutorial bodies would be set up across Sudan to investigate crimes under the new status.

On Friday Bashir sacked the governors of Sudan’s regions and replaced them with officials from the military and security services.

Protesters staged almost daily demonstrations since December, demanding Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 military coup, step down. The protests were initially inspired by high prices for bread but turned into a sustained campaign against Bashir and his government.