Sudan's army pledges support for state amid protests

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 01.02.2019 00:14

The Sudanese army issued a statement on Wednesday saying it would not allow the state to collapse, following weeks of mass protests demanding an end to President Omar Bashir's 30-year rule.

Some activists had been calling for the military to back the protesters and pressure the government to step down. "The armed forces will not allow the Sudanese state to fall or to slide into the unknown," said General Kamal Abdul Maarouf, chief of staff of the armed forces, in a statement. He said those leading the protests were hostile to Sudan and were hurting the country's image. On Tuesday, similar warnings were issued by Maarouf's deputy, Essameddine Mubarak, who said that the forces were ready to face any threat to the country.

For years, anger has been mounting across Sudan over growing economic hardships and deteriorating living conditions driven by soaring inflation and shortage of foreign currency. But the country's defense minister blamed the recent protests on an unspecified plot. "Sudanese armed forces are aware of a plot to use the economic situation for triggering insecurity in the country," Defense Minister Awad Ibnouf said in the military meeting. Despite nationwide rallies, Bashir has refused to step down and blamed violence at demonstrations on "infiltrators" among the demonstrators.

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