Sudanese strongman and suspected war criminal Omar al-Bashir overthrown

Sudanese strongman and suspected war criminal Omar al-Bashir overthrown

He was the world's only sitting head of state wanted for genocide.

After hours of anticipation following news that Mr Al Bashir "stepped down", Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed ibn Auf - who was appointed Vice President two months ago - announced on state television that he will head a military transitional government for the next two years.

In the wake of the coup, global human rights groups urged Sudanese military authorities to hand over the 75-year-old al-Bashir to the worldwide Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for his deadly campaign against insurgents in the country's Darfur region.

Amal Al Zein, a human rights lawyer who has defended political detainees since the 1980s, said that she was only relieved that her 26-year-old son Waddah Awad was released from prison, but added that she is devastated that Sudan is still ruled by an autocratic regime.

This all meant that the Al-Bashir regime did not mind watching institution after institution fail.

"Under his reign, Christians and Muslims have endured the daily scourge of strict Islamic Sharia law leading to the arrest of numerous pastors, the closure of multiple churches and frequent targeting of those who decide to leave Islam and embrace Christianity", he said.

"People are extremely happy even before the army made any announcement".

"My wish is that Sudan should succeed in this calmly. and I believe it should start operating the normal democratic process", he told a news conference in Ankara.

As a young officer, al-Bashir was groomed and trusted by the Islamist movement, which played a key role in propping him up for years. The new rules included stoning and amputations as punishments.

The military council also said it was declaring a ceasefire across the country, including in war-torn Darfur.

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One of his allies, religious scholar Hassan Turabi, invited Osama bin Laden to Sudan in 1991, prompting the U.S.to place Sudan on its list of states sponsoring terrorism.

Since December, Sudan has witnessed persistent demonstrations sparked by rising food prices that quickly escalated into wider calls for the departure of al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 coup.

Algeria's neighbour Morocco is run by a monarchy while heavyweight Egypt is headed by strongman President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former army general. The resulting atrocities led to the charges of genocide.

He is also accused of war crimes following the civil war between Sudan and South Sudan that culminated into the secession of the latter in 2011. Tired after a long civil war and genocide claims, which resulted in the partition of the country into north and south, Sudan, with a population of almost 40 million, attracts the attention of worldwide and regional powers. While criticized, al-Bashir hoped to get concessions from the West in return.

Mr Auf's announcement also appears to have divided the army. He often shuffled his aides, once firing his presidential adviser after accusing him of plotting a coup in 2012, only to bring him back as intelligence chief a year ago to deal with growing unrest.

Together, the developments echoed the Arab Spring uprisings eight years ago that brought down entrenched rulers across the Mideast.

A senior official said that leaders of the military and security services were debating privately about the membership and structure of the transitional government. "He lied a lot", said Wasil Taha, a Sudanese editor of an English-language newspaper who emigrated to the U.S.

Tens of thousands of protesters have been rallying across the country of 43 million for weeks calling for democracy, jobs and an end to corruption.

"[There are] no services, no life, and the regime would repeat lies and false promises and implement their heavy-handed security solution to the people", Mr Auf said in his address.

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