World urges smooth transition in Sudan

Sudanese demonstrators march with national flags as they gather during a rally demanding a civilian body to lead the transition to democracy outside the army headquarters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Saturday

Protesters said they were particularly distrustful of Mr Abnouf, who announced the coup on Thursday and until Friday headed the new military transitional council.

Auf had first announced that the military would be in charge of the country for two years before conducting elections.

The Sudanese army has promised to provide a "completely civilian" government after deposing former President Omar al-Bashir.

Following Defence Minister Awad Bin Ouf's TV appearance, officially announcing the overthrow of the previous government, tens of thousands of frustrated Sudanese labelled the military coup a hoax, saying that the same faces they are opposed to are in the security committee.

Ghosh had overseen a sweeping crackdown led by NISS agents against protesters taking part in four months of mass demonstrations that led up to the toppling of President Omar al-Bashir in a palace coup by the army on Thursday.

The umbrella group organising the protests called on newly sworn-in ruler Gen Burhan to "transfer the powers of the military council to a transitional civilian government".

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Auf stepped down on Friday night, in an announcement on national television, and named Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan as leader.

"I am confident he will steer the ship to safe shores", he said of Burhan, adding that he was stepping aside to "preserve unity" of the armed forces. "Their ability to project influence in an organized way inside the state appears weak", said Sudanese analyst Khalid al-Tijani.

Some analysts said Ibn Auf's resignation might suggest that groups within Sudan's security forces are still vying for power behind the scenes-and pointed to two factions in particular. He has close ties to senior Gulf military officials as he was responsible for coordinating Sudan's military involvement in the war.

Despite enabling the ouster of Bashir, the new administration falls short of the demand for a civilian transition government which protesters, stung by three decades of worsening economy and authoritarian rule, had called for.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly playing a role in a genocide linked to the war in Sudan's Darfur region in the 2000s.

In the months before his ouster, Bashir was in talks with the Qataris and Saudis for more economic relief, trying to play the two regional rivals off one another, said Willow Berridge, a scholar on Sudan at Newcastle University. He also vowed to "uproot the regime" of Bashir and its symbols.

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Sudan's intelligence service said it was freeing all political prisoners.

Sudanese police confirmed the figure on Friday, though saying that the 16 people were killed by "stray bullets". He also said Chief of Staff Kamal Abdelmarouf al-Mahi was relieved of his position as deputy head of the transitional military council.

Meanwhile, Zein Abedeen sought to reassure protesters who, while celebrating al-Bashir's removal, oppose the military's seizure of power.

The military council had announced a two-year transition period, but Sudan's United Nations envoy told the Security Council in NY that this could be shortened "depending on developments on the ground and agreements between stakeholders".

"Moreover, the suspension of the constitution could be lifted at any point and the transitional period could be shortened depending on developments on the ground and agreements reached between stakeholders", the Sudanese envoy said.

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