The head of Sudan’s ruling military council has announced his resignation in a speech broadcast live on state television.
General Awad Ibn Auf’s announcement came late on Friday as tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, demanding a civilian-led transition after the military overthrow of the country’s longtime ruler, Omar al-Bashir.
“I, the head of the military council, announce I am giving up the post,” Ibn Auf said, just a day after he was sworn in as the head of a transitional military council.
“This is for the benefit of our nation, without having to look at special interests, big or small that may impede its progress,” he said in a brief statement. “I would like to recommend that you work together and reach a solution very speedily.”
Naming Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan as his successor, Ibn Auf said he stepped down to preserve the unity of the armed forces.
Protesters in Khartoum greeted the move with “ululations and cheers”, said Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan.
“People are celebrating on the streets; they are saying that they managed to topple President Omar al-Bashir after four months of protests and less than 48 hours after the military council took over, they managed to bring down Ibn Auf, too,” she said from the capital.
Sudan military: We have ‘no ambition to hold the reins of power’ (15:52)
Burhan, who was appointed as al-Bashir’s chief of staff and head of the ground forces in February, did not have the “same tainted record” as that of other al-Bashir era officials, she said, citing accusations of war crimes against both the former president and his successor during the 2003-2008 war in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
The new leader of the transitional military council is expected to address the Sudanese public on Saturday, Morgan said.
“The protesters are waiting to see what kind of vision and plan Burhan has, [in order] to see if he is going to be the person they would want to represent them during the transition period, or whether they should continue with their sit-in,” she added.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which spearheaded the months-long demonstrations that triggered al-Bashir’s overthrow on Thursday, praised Ibn Auf’s departure as a “triumph of the will of the masses”.
Protesters in Khartoum, meanwhile, told Al Jazeera the toppling of al-Bashir and resignation of Ibn Auf within 36 hours was the result of “patience, sacrifices and struggle for four months”.
“We now want to witness the power being handed over to the civilians, this is the … democracy and freedom we aimed to achieve,” Abdul Jabar Ibrahim, 60, said.
The SPA called on residents of Khartoum to continue their days-long sit-in outside the army headquarters and supporters elsewhere in the country to take to the streets outside the military’s “various garrisons”.
Earlier on Friday, the group pledged to “resist” by peaceful means the three-month long emergency and one-month long nighttime curfew imposed by Ibn Auf.
Al Jazeera and news agencies