US orders non-emergency personnel out of Sudan

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Washington/Khartoum, April 12 (IANS) The US State Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency American government personnel from Sudan after the African nation’s army overthrew President Omar al-Bashir from power after nearly 30 years.

Those personnel remaining in the country “must obtain special authorisation from the Sudanese government to travel outside of Khartoum”, according to the updated travel advisory on Thursday which was issued hours after the coup.

“There is a national state of emergency in effect across Sudan, which gives security forces greater arrest and incarceration powers. Security forces have enhanced authority to detain and arrest anybody they deem to be undermining public order, including protesters or those suspected of supporting the protests,” the advisory said.

“Detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country. Curfews and checkpoints on roads may be imposed with little or no warning.”

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The State Department also warned citizens against travelling to Sudan and asked Americans who remain in the northeastern African country to shelter in place, CNN reported.

On Thursday, Bashir, who himself had seized power in a coup in 1989, was arrested and forced out of his office.

He has been accused of war crimes and genocide for his brutal crackdown in Darfur, and largely peaceful protests calling for his removal recently escalated and became deadly.

The Sudanese army has announced a two-year military council to oversee a transition of power and declared a three-month state of emergency.

At a news conference on Thursday night, State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino was not definite about which course of action the US supports in dealing with Bashir.

“The US continues to call for those responsible for the horrific crimes that were committed in Darfur to be held accountable for those actions,” Palladino said.

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However, when asked about prosecuting Bashir in the International Criminal Court, he sidestepped.

“I’m not going to get into specifics on how accountability is held today, but we continue to call for accountability.”

–IANS

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