Sudan army ruler says talks with protesters suspended

The Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC) said it has chose to suspend talks with the opposition for three days and remove all the barricades built by protesters in the country's capital of Khartoum, local media reported on Thursday.

The head of Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC), Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, accused the demonstrators of breaking an understanding on de-escalation while talks were underway and said protesters were disrupting life in the capital by blocking roads outside a protest zone agreed upon with the military.

The barricades were first erected last month at the start of sit-ins that grew from street protests demanding the ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The much-awaited talks on transfer of power from the generals to a civilian administration commenced on Monday but have been marred by violence that left six people dead the same day at a Khartoum sit-in where thousands of protesters have camped for weeks.

But at a joint press conference on Wednesday, representatives from both the ruling Transitional Military Council and an alliance of protest groups declared that they expected to sign a final deal "within 24 hours".

The make-up of the new sovereign council has been the toughest part of the negotiations, with the two sides so far proposing different compositions of the body which is expected to take all key decisions concerning national issues.

Before the suspension, General Yasser al-Atta, one of the members of the current ruling military council, had vowed to reach a deal by early Thursday that "meets the people's aspirations".

The generals want it to be military-led, while the protesters insist on a majority civilian body.

There have been several deadly incidents of violence at the sit-ins, including at the main protest site outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.

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Protest leaders, who on Monday had blamed the remnants of Bashir's regime and allied militias, changed their stand on Tuesday.

On Wednesday at least nine people were wounded by troops firing live ammunition to clear demonstrators.

Protest leaders said it was sparked by security forces trying to remove barricades put up by demonstrators on the Nile Street.

That civilian government would work towards having the first post-Bashir elections after the end of the transition period.

The rights group Physicians for Human Rights has estimated that Sudanese security forces killed more than 60 people during a failed crackdown on the protests.

"It seems that there is so much confusion within the military council", said Rabie, adding that there are probably those within the military council who disagree "among themselves as to whether they shall hand power over to civilians".

"Only the ministers of defence and interior are going to be with the military".

Protesters said the army aimed to provoke demonstrators.

"The military council has suspended the talks".

  • Sonia Alvarado