Sudan’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said he would not take part in any government coming after a transitional period and denied that the army was responsible for the deaths of protesters marching against the military takeover.
Nationwide protests against coups have taken place since the October 25 takeover by the military, but have been met by deadly repression.
At least 14 protesters were killed and about 300 wounded, according to the independent Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.
“It is our promise – a promise we made to ourselves, the Sudanese people and the international community – that we are committed to completing the democratic transition, holding elections on time, and committing ourselves to no political activity. stop as long as it is peaceful. , and within the bounds of the constitutional declaration and the parts not suspended, ”al-Burhan told Al Jazeera in comments aired Sunday.
“We are committed to handing over power to a civilian government of national competence and we undertake to preserve the transition from any interference that may prevent it,” he continued.
Al-Burhan also denied that the army was responsible for the deaths of protesters.
“The Sudanese army is not killing civilians, and there are investigative committees to reveal what happened,” he said.
The interview was broadcast as counter-offensive rallies continued in the capital Khartoum and several other towns, increasing pressure on the military amid the ongoing political crisis.
Dozens of teachers rallied against the army outside the education ministry in Khartoum. According to the teachers’ union, at least 80 protesters were arrested in Khartoum on Sunday. There were no reports of casualties.
Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, who spoke to Burhan, said the general said people had the right to protest peacefully.
Burhan said talks were underway with political parties and figures, including ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. [regarding] consensus reached on the formation of a government, ”Serdar said from Khartoum.
“He said he hopes to reach an agreement within the next 24 hours, despite several obstacles.”
Tear gas fired while protests continued
Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at several anti-coup rallies earlier Sunday, with protesters in several cities joining a two-day call for civil disobedience and a strike campaign to protest last month’s military takeover.
The calls for civil disobedience were led by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an umbrella of unions that were also instrumental in the protests that led to the removal of longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.
“The Sudanese people have rejected the military coup,” the SPA said, promising “no negotiation, no partnership”.
The SPA’s civil disobedience appeals have been spread through text messages to circumvent internet disruptions that have existed since the outbreak.
Hundreds of anti-coup protesters rallied in Khartoum, as well as in its twin city of Omdurman, Wad Madni in the south and the northern city of Atbara.
“The authority belongs to the people,” they sang and “no, no to military rule” while demanding a “civilian government”.
“Protesters blocked the streets, set car tires on fire, shouted at the military government and sang that civilian government was the people’s choice,” said Hoda Othman, who witnessed protests in Omdurman.
The military takeover has resulted in international condemnation, including punitive aid cuts and demands for a speedy return to civilian rule.
Al-Burhan insists it “was not a coup” but a move to “rectify the course of the transition”.
Separately, a high-level Arab League delegation on Sunday held separate talks with al-Burhan and the ousted civilian leader, Abdalla Hamdok, on “the importance of the partnership between the military and civilians” and ways to “resolve the differences”.
Hamdok, who is still under house arrest at his home in Khartoum, has demanded the release of civil servants and politicians detained in connection with the coup. He also wants “guarantees” that the army will return to the power-sharing arrangements before the coup, the official said.
The military released four civilian members of the government on Thursday, but key officials are still being held.