Protesters jubilant as Sudan coup leader steps down after a day

Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf quits after helping remove ousted president Omar al-Bashir

The protest movement in Sudan won a new victory on Friday night when the military moved to replace the country’s controversial transitional leader after a single day, following street rallies against him.

Thousands of jubilant protesters celebrated in the streets after the defence minister, Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who was named de facto leader after overthrowing Omar al-Bashir on Thursday, announced he was stepping down as transitional leader. He named another, less controversial army general as his successor at the head of a military-led council.

This may not be enough to satisfy pro-democracy campaigners who have called for civilian government and widespread reforms but is being taken as a positive sign that statements by their new rulers indicating they wanted a “dialogue” with protesters were sincere.

The council also announced it would not extradite Bashir to face allegations of genocide at the international criminal court. Instead, he could go on trial in Sudan.

Protests in Sudan erupted on 19 December in the eastern city of Atbara after a government decision to triple the price of bread, but quickly evolved into nationwide demonstrations against Bashir’s rule. The situation escalated dramatically a week ago, when thousands of demonstrators began a sit-in outside the defence ministry compound in central Khartoum. Five days later the army stepped in to remove Bashir, who had been in power since 1989.

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