Sudan's civilian opposition to nominate head of transitional council

The nominations build on proposals put forward by the Ethiopian prime minister last week and come ahead of a visit by a top US diplomat

CLARIFICATION: Patients in a hospital in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman are shown on June 10, 2019 receiving treatment during a visit organised by Sudan's Health Ministry which claimed medical services had been disrupted by protestors blocking roads as part as a civil disobedience campaign launched the previous day. Sudanese protestors begun a campaign to call on the country's military rulers to step aside following a deadly crack down by security forces on a long running protest on June 3, 2019. Doctor across the country have been key participants in the protest movement that has rocked Sudan since december. / AFP / -
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Sudan's civilian opposition will nominate eight people to a transitional council and name a prominent economist to lead a government, a representative said on Monday.

It comes after efforts to mediate a peace by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a visit to the capital Khartoum last week and during a week of civil disobedience that is entering its third day.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces alliance appears to be building on a plan proposed by Mr Abiy, which suggested a 15-member transitional council consisting of eight civilians and seven army officers to prepare the country for democracy.

They are likely to nominate Abdullah Hamdouk, a former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as the new prime minister.

This week, Tibor Nagy, the United States' assistant secretary for African affairs, will travel to Sudan and Ethiopia to discuss a political solution to the crisis.

"He will call for a cessation of attacks against civilians and urge parties to work towards creating an enabling environment … for talks to resume," the State Department said on Monday.

Also on Monday, a US representative introduced a congressional resolution calling for a civilian-led government during the democratic transition and an end to violence.

Tuesday's developments mark a significant de-escalation from last week, when relations between the civilian protest movement and the military turned violent.

Paramilitary forces linked to the current junta governing Sudan, the Transitionary Military Council, opened fire on protesters in what they said was an attempt to clear the main protest site of "criminal elements".

At least 117 people were killed and more than 500 injured in the violence, according to a doctors group that is part of the protest movement. The country's health ministry said the number was lower.

Both sides declared they would cease communication, with the civilian alliance calling for "full civil disobedience" leading to roads being blocked and businesses being shuttered. The military reportedly responded with teargas and live ammunition.

The violent jostle for control comes after the ousting of former president Omar Al Bashir, which has led to a dangerous power vacuum and a roadblock on the route towards a democratic system of governance.

The military called for elections within nine months, but the civilian movement rejected this time frame, saying it should be longer and monitored by a civilian-led interim government.