Massive Celebrations in Sudan As Military Readies Country for "Important Announcement"

Massive Celebrations in Sudan As Military Readies Country for

NAIROBI, Kenya-After three decades in power, Sudan's President Hassan Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by a military coup amidst widespread protests that started a year ago. Sudan's airspace would be closed for 24 hours and border crossings shut until further notice.

Omar al-Bashir was ousted from power by the military following months of civilian protests against his 30-year rule.

"Those who destroyed the country and killed the people are seeking to steal every drop of blood and sweat that the Sudanese people poured in their revolution that shook the throne of tyranny", the statement read.

Huge crowds of Sudanese demanding the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir massed in the centre of Khartoum as the army promised an "important announcement" after months of protests.

Awad Abdel-Bayen, a leading figure in Sudan's Communist Party, described the military takeover of power as "giving new life to al-Bashir rule".

The downfall of Bashir follows the toppling this month of Algerian strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika, also following mass protests after three decades in power.

One of the world's most enduring dictators, he is a pariah in many nations and is wanted by an global court for war crimes committed in Darfur.

Protesters chanting slogans against the 30-year rule of President Bashir also stormed an NISS building in Port Sudan, a witness said. He also said al-Bashir's crackdown against protesters risked splitting the security establishment and "could cause grave casualties".

The State Department said the airport in Khartoum will be closing and that the the consular section at the US embassy in Khartoum was also closed Thursday. Two officials high in the military and government told The Associated Press that al-Bashir had been ousted.

Calls for Bashir to resign reached fever pitch in recent days, as security forces fired tear gas at thousands of protesters gathered outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.

A Reuters witness says soldiers raided the headquarters of the Islamic movement led by Sudan's Omar al-Bashir in the capital Khartoum on Thursday.

Al-Bashir, whose whereabouts were not immediately known, came to power in a coup of his own in 1989, backed by the military and Islamist hard-liners.

Thursday's brief statement by the National Security and Intelligence service did not indicate when the release would take place.

He is one of Africa's longest-serving presidents.

Ahead of the statement, Sudanese radio played military marches and patriotic music as the TV said there will be an "important statement from the armed forces after a while, wait for it".

The SPA, which is spearheading the protests, said they will only accept the handover of power to a civilian transitional government.

Al-Mahdi only lasted three years.

"Ibn Auf is a symbol of the old regime and wants to maintain the interests of himself and Bashir", said protester Adela Isam.

In February, it looked as though the president might step down, but instead Mr Bashir declared a state of national emergency.

The country's autocratic leader is understood to be under house arrest with several aides at the presidential palace, along with a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

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