Sudanese Military Suspends Talks with Civilian Protest Leaders

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Dozens of people were injured in the clashes

Sudanese opposition leaders behind the protests that drove President Omar al-Bashir from power last month on Thursday criticized the ruling military council for suspending negotiations with their representatives over a peaceful transfer of power to civilian rule.

In a televised speech, the head of Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC), Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the council had chose to suspend talks for 72 hours "until a suitable atmosphere is created to complete an agreement".

On Wednesday, army generals and protest leaders were expected to decide on the make-up of a new body to govern Sudan for three years, following the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir last month.

Protesters have demanded a swift transition to civilian rule, fearful that military rulers will replace one dictatorship with another.

Sudan's opposition alliance reacted to the move by saying that the suspension of talks with protesters was a "regrettable decision", Reuters reported.

However, the military rulers still appear cagey about surrendering absolute power to the opposition alliance which is demanding a majority in the sovereign council, the citadel of power.

The latest round of talks which opened on Monday come after a break in negotiations that saw protest leaders threaten "escalatory measures" to secure their central demand of civilian rule.

Soldiers protect civilian protestors during Khartoum sit-in on 8 April 2019.

But just hours before the talks were due to start, a spokesperson for the umbrella protest group, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, wrote on Facebook that eight people had been wounded by live fire.

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However, the council reportedly pledged it would not use force to disperse the protesters.

"People were walking towards the barricades and they (security forces) were firing shots at them", a 20-year-old demonstrator, who asked not to be named, said, showing a handful of empty bullet casings and referring to roadblocks set up by protesters.

Meanwhile, the Central Committee of the Sudanese Doctors said in a statement that nine people were injured in Wednesday's attack on the protesters.

They "were clearly the result of the Transitional Military Council trying to impose its will on the protesters by attempting to remove roadblocks", the U.S. embassy said on its Facebook page.

Protests have been underway in Sudan for months.

It follows after the killing of six demonstrators by security forces on Monday.

Demonstrators have vowed to continue to sit-in and march until the government is transitioned to 100 percent civilian rule.

"We put the whole responsibility on the military council for what happened yesterday because it's their direct responsibility to guard and protect the citizens", Mohamed Naji al-Assam, a prominent figure in the movement, told reporters.

"All powers will be in the cabinet's hand, which will be formed by the Alliance for Freedom and Change", he said.

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