Sudan’s pro-democracy movement claimed the scalp of its second leader in less than a week after the head of a transitional government stepped down to be replaced by another military figure.
Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf announced his resignation in a televised speech, less than two days after the army ousted President Omar al-Bashir.
The move was met with cheers by those taking part in a seven-day sit-in outside military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, who’ve demanded sweeping changes to al-Bashir’s 30-year regime. Veteran intelligence chief Salah Gosh resigned, state radio reported.
“The coup-makers are in disarray,” said Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University in Massachusetts, and a Sudan expert.
Al-Bashir “set up an elaborate political-security system that only he was capable of running,” and now they’re “struggling with the conundrum of how to maintain consensus among a divided and militarised elite, and meet enough of the demands of the protesters to have a modicum of legitimacy.”
Ibn Auf said he was stepping down “to keep the solidarity of the security system, especially the armed forces.” Naming army inspector-general Abdel Fatah al-Burhan his successor, he said he trusted his “expertise, competence and qualifications.” Kamal Abdul Maarouf was also removed as deputy head of the council.
The ouster of al-Bashir, who himself took power in a 1989 coup, ended the reign of one of the continent’s longest-serving rulers and came after four months of protests in which more than 45 people died.