Sudanese military closes Al Jazeera office, revokes media credentials

Protesters have been staging a sit-in outside the defence ministry for weeks pushing the ruling generals to hand over power to civilians

Protesters have been staging a sit-in outside the defence ministry for weeks pushing the ruling generals to hand over power to civilians

Sudan has been run by the TMC since long-time President Omar al-Bashir was toppled in April, but it has struggled to return the country to normality.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called on Sudan's military rulers and protest groups to go back to the negotiating table and quickly reach a deal on handing over power to a civilian-led government.

Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council announced on television on Thursday the sit-in area had become a crime hotspot and vowed to deal with any illegal activities.

Negotiations between protesters who demonstrated against Bashir's rule and the military have broken down over whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or a military figure.

For weeks, demonstrators have camped out in front of Khartoum's army headquarters to pressure the generals to yield power.

Talks between the TMC and opposition and protest leaders in the Alliance for Freedom and Change movement have ground to a halt.

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This week also saw a 48-hour nationwide strike, in which medics, lawyers, civil servants and airline personnel participated, aimed at pressuring the transitional military council to make way for a civilian government.

The council has also ordered the closure of the office of the Al Jazeera Media Network in Khartoum. "What comes next is civil disobedience, if the military council refuses to meet the demand of the Sudanese people".

"They told us that the military council had chose to close the Al-Jazeera network's office and withdraw its licence, Al-Musallami Al-Kabbashi, the director of the station's Khartoum office told AFP".

No written decision was given to the bureau's director, the channel said.

On Thursday, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the military council, dashed hopes for an interim civilian government during his speech at an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia.

Forces yesterday raided the outlet without providing a reason and confiscated work permits for staff and broadcasting equipment, Hassan Saeed Elmogummer Taha, an Al-Jazeera news producer based in Qatar, told CPJ. He had already visited Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

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