Tens of thousands of Sudanese were making their way to the center of the country’s capital on Thursday, cheering and clapping in celebration as two senior officials said the military had forced longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir to step down after 30 years in power.
The circumstances of al-Bashir’s apparent ouster and his current whereabouts remained unclear, however. The armed forces were to deliver an “important statement” and asked the nation to wait for it, state TV reported earlier.
According to Associated Presss, the two officials, in high positions in the government and the military, said the army forced al-Bashir to step down and was now in talks about forming a transitional government.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The swirling reports of a coup following nearly four months of street protests against al-Bashir’s rule raised expectations it was a sign the autocrat was relinquishing power or was being removed by the military.
Pan-Arab TV networks said top ruling party officials were being arrested. They aired footage of masses they said were heading toward the presidential palace in Khartoum, waving the national flag, chanting, and clapping.
Eyewitnesses in Khartoum said the military had deployed at key sites in the city to secure several installations since the morning hours.