Sudan’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has said he will not participate in any government that comes after a transitional period and denied that the army was responsible for the deaths of protesters rallying against the military takeover.
Nationwide anti-coup protests have taken place since the October 25 power grab by the army, but have been met by a deadly crackdown.
At least 14 demonstrators have been killed and about 300 wounded, according to the independent Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.
“It is our pledge – a pledge we made to ourselves, the Sudanese people and the international community – that we are committed to completing the democratic transition, holding elections on time, and committed to not stopping any political activity as long as it is peaceful, and within the bounds of the constitutional declaration and the parts that have not been suspended,” al-Burhan told Al Jazeera in comments broadcast on Sunday.
“We are committed to handing over power to a civilian government of national competency and we pledge to preserve the transition from any interference that can hinder it,” he continued.
Al-Burhan also denied the army was responsible for the deaths of protesters.
“The Sudanese army does not kill citizens, and there are investigation committees to reveal what happened,” he said.
The interview was broadcast as anti-coup rallies continued in the capital, Khartoum and several other towns, ramping up the pressure against the military amid the continuing political crisis.
Dozens of teachers rallied against the army outside the education ministry in Khartoum. According to the teachers’ union, at least 80 protesters were arrested in Khartoum on Sunday. There were no reports of casualties.
Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, who spoke with Burhan, said the general said people have the right to protest peacefully.
“Burhan said the talks are underway with political parties and figures including the ousted prime minister Abdalla Hamdok [regarding] reaching a consensus to forming a government,” Serdar said, speaking from Khartoum.
“He said he hopes to reach a deal within the next 24 hours, despite several obstacles.”
Earlier on Sunday, Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at several anti-coup rallies, with protesters in several cities joining a call for two days of civil disobedience and a strike campaign to protest against last month’s military takeover.
The calls for civil disobedience were led by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an umbrella of unions which were also instrumental in the protests which led to the removal of longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.