Five Sudanese protesters and an army major were shot dead Monday in the capital, hours after protest leaders and the ruling generals reached a breakthrough agreement on transitional authorities to run the country.
The latest developments came as the prosecutor general’s office said ousted president Omar al-Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during anti-regime demonstrations that led to the end of his rule last month.
The major and a protester were killed at a sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum where thousands of protesters remain camped for weeks, demanding that the army generals who took power after ousting Bashir step down.
Three soldiers and several protesters and civilians were also wounded when “unidentified elements” fired shots at the Khartoum sit-in, the ruling military council said.
A doctors’ committee linked to the protest movement later said four more protesters had been shot dead, but did not specify if they were actually killed at the sit-in.
The military council said in a late night press conference that it had “noticed some armed infiltrators among the protesters”.
The umbrella protest movement the Alliance for Freedom and Change said Monday’s violence was to “disturb the breakthrough in the negotiations” with army generals as it blamed the bloodshed on the former regime’s militias.
Earlier on Monday, the generals and the protest movement said a breakthrough had been reached in their talks over handing of power to a civilian administration.
“At today’s meeting we agreed on the structure of the authorities and their powers,” Taha Osman, a spokesman for the protest movement, told AFP.
“The authorities are as follows — the sovereign council, the cabinet and the legislative body,” he said.
Osman said another meeting would be held on Tuesday “to discuss the period of transition and the composition of the authorities”.
Talks to continue Tuesday
The military council confirmed an accord had been reached.
“We agreed on forming the transitional authority on all three levels — the sovereign, the executive and the legislative,” council spokesman Lieutenant General Shamseddine Kabbashi told reporters.
“Tomorrow we will continue to discuss the percentage of participation… and the transitional period.”
The generals insist the transitional period should be two years, while protesters want it to be four years.
The crucial talks between the two sides follow a deadlock in negotiations.
The apparent breakthrough came as Sudan’s acting prosecutor general Al-Waleed Sayyed Ahmed said Bashir “and others have been charged for inciting and participating in the killing of demonstrators”.
The charges form part of an investigation into the death of a medic killed during a protest in the capital’s eastern district of Burri, his office said in a statement.
Ninety people were killed in protest-related violence after demonstrations initially erupted in December, the doctors’ committee said last month.
The official death toll is 65.
Mass protests which drove Bashir from office on April 11 are still being held outside the army headquarters, vowing to force the military council to cede power.
Prior to Monday’s talks, dozens of protesters blocked Nile Street, a major avenue in the city, for the second consecutive day, an AFP correspondent reported.
Pressing their demand for a handover to civilian rule, protesters also blocked a road leading to the capital’s northern district of Bahari.
Three protesters were wounded by “live ammunition” when security personnel tried to dismantle blockades put by demonstrators in parts of the capital, the doctors’ committee said.
“We reject using force against the civilians … we are calling on the military council to take its responsibility in protecting the peaceful protesters,” the Alliance for Freedom and Change said.
Following a deadlock in negotiations, the protest alliance on Saturday said the army generals had invited the movement for a new round of talks.
The generals in earlier talks had proposed the new council be led by the military, while the protest leaders want a majority civilian body.
Late last month, the alliance — which brings together protest organisers, opposition parties and rebel groups — handed the generals its proposals for a civilian-led transitional government.
But the generals pointed to what they call “many reservations” over the alliance’s roadmap.
They have singled out its silence on the constitutional position of Islamic sharia law, which was the guiding principle of all legislation under Bashir’s rule.
Demonstrators converged on the military complex last month seeking the army’s help in ousting Bashir.
Days later the army ousted the veteran leader, but a 10-member military council took power and demonstrators have kept up their sit-in against the generals.
Although crowds have dwindled during the day due to the scorching heat, protesters gather in their thousands after breaking the daytime fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Two UN personnel killed in Benghazi by car bomb
Two members of the UN mission were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb.
A car bombing in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi killed two United Nations staff on Saturday, a security official said.
“Two members of the UN mission were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb” in a shopping area of the Al-Hawari district, the official said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which happened as a UN convoy was passing through the area.
Benghazi, Libya’s second city and the cradle of the 2011 uprising that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was hit by years of violence targeting diplomatic offices and security forces after his fall.
An attack on the US consulate on September 11, 2012, killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
In 2017, military strongman Khalifa Haftar drove hardline Islamists and jihadists out of Benghazi after a three-year battle.
Haftar, who backs an eastern-based administration that opposes the Tripoli-based unity government, went on to seize Derna, the last city in eastern Libya outside his control.
But bombings and kidnappings have continued.
A May 2018 attack left seven people dead and last month, a car bombing at the funeral of an ex-army commander killed at least four people and wounded more than 30 others.
A Libyan lawmaker is also feared to have been abducted by an armed group in the eastern city, the UN and lawmakers said in July.
Haftar controls most of eastern Libya, and early this year he ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army to purge the south of what he called “terrorist groups and criminals”.
On the heels of that campaign, his LNA launched in April an offensive to take the Libyan capital from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord.
The LNA on Saturday announced a truce around Tripoli for the three-day Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, after the unity government conditionally accepted a ceasefire called for by the UN.
Jihadists release video of ‘kidnapped aid worker’ and 5 colleagues in Nigeria
The hostages are believed to be held in the ISWAP enclave on the shores of Lake Chad
Jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group released a video Thursday purporting to show a female aid worker and five male colleagues kidnapped in an attack in northeast Nigeria.
Aid group, Action Against Hunger (AAH) said earlier that one of its staff members along with three health workers and two drivers were missing after their convoy was attacked last Thursday near the border with Niger.
In the three-minute video, a woman wearing a bright blue hijab who says she is the abducted aid worker addresses the camera in English while seated in front of five men she describes as her colleagues.
The footage seen by reporters was released through the same channels as previous videos from the IS-linked Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
An employee at another NGO confirmed the identity of the missing aid worker.
Villagers see captives –
The hostages are believed to be held in the ISWAP enclave on the shores of Lake Chad.
Villagers told reporters the kidnapped aid workers were seen with their armed captors passing through the villages of Chamba and Gatafo on the day of their abduction.
ISWAP is a splinter group of Boko Haram that swore allegiance in 2016 to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
It has repeatedly attacked military bases and previously targeted aid workers in northeast Nigeria.
Two female aid workers with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were murdered by ISWAP last year and an aid worker with the UN children’s agency UNICEF is still being held by the group.
Since 2009, more than 27,000 people have been killed and some two million forced from their homes by the Boko Haram conflict.
Prime Minister under Muammar Gaddafi’s rule freed in Libya
Mahmoudi was arrested in September 2011 as he tried to flee across the border to Tunisia, and was extradited to Libya
Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, Libya’s last prime minister under ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has been released from jail for health reasons four years after being sentenced to death, Tripoli’s justice ministry said Saturday.
Mahmoudi, in his 70s, was premier when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed Gaddafi.
He was handed the death sentence in July 2014 along with eight other Gaddafi-era officials including the leader’s son Seif al-Islam, over their alleged role in a bloody crackdown on protesters.
The justice ministry said Mahmoudi was released “for health reasons” at the recommendation of a medical commission “so that he could be treated at specialised medical centres”.
It gave no further details on the nature of his illness or when he was liberated.
Mahmoudi was arrested in September 2011 as he tried to flee across the border to Tunisia, and was extradited to Libya the following year.
During his detention in Tunisia, he claimed that Libya had financed the 2007 election campaign of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, according to his lawyers.
The French ex-president vehemently denied the allegations, initially made by Seif al-Islam.
But Sarkozy was charged in March 2018 over accusations he accepted millions of euros from Gaddafi.
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