Sudan's military council head: Suspend talks with protesters for 72 hours

Sudanese protestors celebrate after an agreement was reached with the military council to form a three-year transition period for transferring power to a full civilian administration in Khartoum early

Sudanese civilians celebrate after the agreement was reached Credit ASHRAF SHAZLY AFP

Military rulers in Sudan on Thursday suspended talks with protesters on installing civilian rule, insisting more time was needed to finalize the deal.

At least eight people were reported wounded by gunshots near a Khartoum sit-in on Wednesday, before crucial talks between military chiefs and protest leaders over a transitional governing body.

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.

Weeks of street protests that precipitated the end of Bashir's 30-year rule on April 11 have continued as the opposition demands that the military hand over power to civilians.

The violence took place hours before the TMC was due to meet representatives of the umbrella opposition group Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) to try to hammer out a final deal for the transition period.

Earlier on Wednesday, protest leaders said of the ruling military council's decision to suspend talks.

"We chose to suspend the negotiations over civil rule for 72 hours to help prepare an atmosphere for completing the deal, ' Burhan said, demanding that protesters dismantle roadblocks in Khartoum, open bridges connecting the capital and other regions and 'stop provoking security forces".

During the first two days of talks, the two sides had agreed on an overall civilian structure, including a three-year transitional period for the full transfer of power to a civilian administration.

Protesters walk towards the sit-in protest outside the Sudanese military headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

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

The developments followed violence in central Khartoum on Wednesday when at least nine people were wounded by Sudanese troops firing live ammunition to clear demonstrators.

The British ambassador to Khartoum said Sudanese security forces had fired at protesters.

Demonstrators have vowed to continue to sit-in and march until the government is transitioned to 100 percent civilian rule.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change, the group that is leading the protest movement and negotiating the transfer of power with the army rulers, said the move was "regretable".

Tensions have soared since Monday's shootings, which the United States blamed on security forces.

He said the TMC, which took over after overthrowing and jailing Bashir last month, had made a decision to remove all barricades put up by demonstrators beyond the area where the protesters had been camping since April 6 outside the Defence Ministry.

"We put the whole responsibility on the military council for what happened yesterday because it's their direct responsibility to guard and protect the citizens", Mohamed Naji al-Assam, a prominent figure in the movement, told reporters.

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