Sudan police denies statement calling for 'transfer of power'

Sudan police denies statement calling for 'transfer of power'
Sudan's police says an announcement earlier on Tuesday advocating for protecting protesters and a 'transfer of power' was the product of a 'takeover' attempt.
2 min read
09 April, 2019
Sudanese protesters have been calling for Bashir to step down since December [AFP]
Sudan's police force on Tuesday backtracked on a statement made hours earlier, which offered support to protesters and their desire for a transitional government. 

"Our page has been restored after an attempt to take it over," the Sudan police force's press office said in on its Facebook page.
An earlier, now deleted, post on the same page had said that Sudan's police force would not "harm citizens and peaceful demonstrations".

The post had also called for a "peaceful transfer of power" and stability in the country which has been swept by widespread protests since mid-December.

The statement had been an unusual aboutface for the police force, which has supported attempts by President Omar al-Bashir and his regime to suppress dissent.

"The police issued directives to all police forces in the center and the states not to harm citizens and peaceful gatherings, and to carry out their duties by saving lives and property," the statement said.

"We call on God to preserve the security and calm of our country... and to unite the Sudanese people... for an agreement which would support the peaceful transition of power."

However, a statement made elsewhere complicates claims that the post was the product of a 'takeover' attempt.

The director of Khartoum's police force Ibrahim Othman told The New Arab's Arabic service: "We will focus on its works against criminal activity in the coming period, and will not object to any peaceful protest or association. Accordingly we will focus on the protecting citizens."

Othman claimed the security situation in the capital was "good".

Later on Tuesday, a police lieutenant announced his resignation from the force in a Facebook Live broadcast.

The man names himself as Taha Hussein Ali Awad, a traffic police officer, and explained he was against regime militias and the police in crushing protests.

The former police officer also called for other police force and security force members to join him.