Crack in opposition as top Sudan group rejects call for strike

Sudanese protesters gather for a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum on May 19, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 27 May 2019
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Crack in opposition as top Sudan group rejects call for strike

  • We reject the general strike announced by some opposition groups, says NUP
  • The NUP led by former premier Sadiq Al-Mahdi said any such decision should be taken by a council of leaders of the protest movement

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s main opposition group and supporter of the protest movement on Sunday rejected its call to stage a two-day general strike in the first sign of a rift within the movement negotiating the launch of civilian rule.

Talks between leaders of the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change and army generals who seized power after ousting Omar Al-Bashir last month are deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body -— a civilian or soldier.

In a bid to step up pressure on the generals, the protest movement has called for a general strike starting Tuesday, but the National Umma Party (NUP), a key backer of the movement, rejected the measure.

“We reject the general strike announced by some opposition groups” in the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the NUP said in a statement.

“A general strike is a weapon that should be used after it is agreed upon by everybody,” NUP said.

“We have to avoid such escalated measures that are not fully agreed.”

The NUP led by former premier Sadiq Al-Mahdi said any such decision should be taken by a council of leaders of the protest movement.

Such a council was still not in place and “will be composed in a meeting on Monday,” it said.

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Talks between the generals and protest leaders remain deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body to oversee the formation of a civilian administration — a soldier or civilian.

It was Al-Mahdi’s elected government that Bashir, who himself was deposed on April 11, toppled in a coup in 1989.

In a recent interview with AFP, Al-Mahdi warned protesters not to “provoke” the army’s rulers as they had been instrumental in ousting Bashir. Minutes after NUP’s statement, another key member of the protest movement, the Sudanese Congress Party, said the strike will go ahead as planned.

It said the strike was a new measure “to complete the mission of the revolution, which definitely will achieve its victory.”

The military toppled Bashir after months-long protests across Sudan led by the Alliance against his rule of three decades. Thousands of demonstrators remain camped outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum demanding that the generals step down.

Talks between the generals and protest leaders remain deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body to oversee the formation of a civilian administration — a soldier or civilian.

Protest leaders insist a civilian must head a new sovereign council and that civilians should make up the majority of its members, proposals rejected by the ruling generals.

The new ruling body when finalised is expected to install a transitional civilian government for three years after which the first post-Bashir election would be held.

Before suspending talks last Monday, the two sides had agreed on several key issues, including the three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two thirds of lawmakers coming from the protesters’ umbrella group.


Daesh mortar attack on soccer field kills 6 in Iraq

Updated 25 August 2019
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Daesh mortar attack on soccer field kills 6 in Iraq

  • The attack occurred late Saturday in the village of Daquq
  • The area of the attack is controlled by the Popular Mobilization Forces

BAGHDAD: Police in Iraq say Daesh militants have fired mortar rounds at a soccer field near a Shiite shrine, killing six civilians and wounding nine others.
The attack occurred late Saturday in the village of Daquq, in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province, as people were exercising.
Police officials confirmed the attack, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
The area of the attack, southeast of the city of Kirkuk, is controlled by Iran-supported militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.
Daesh, which once ruled a self-styled Islamic caliphate sprawling across Iraq and Syria, no longer controls territory in either country but has continued to stage sporadic attacks.