A Sudanese parliament member speaks during a National Assembly emergency session discussing a state of emergency declared by the president following anti-government protests, on March 11, 2019.
A Sudanese parliament member speaks during a National Assembly emergency session discussing a state of emergency declared by the president following anti-government protests, on March 11, 2019.

Sudan's state-controlled television says the army will make an "important statement" sometime Thursday. 

State media offered no details about the upcoming message, but Pan-Arab TV networks carried unconfirmed reports that President Omar al-Bashir had stepped down, according to the Associated Press. His whereabouts were unknown.

The surprise announcement came amid intensified protests demanding the resignation of al-Bashir. Protesters have staged a sit-in since last Saturday in front of the Sudanese military headquarters since last Saturday. 

At least 22 people have been killed in clashes with security forces, according to activists.

The protests began Dec. 19, with demonstrators accusing Bashir's government of economic mismanagement that has sparked skyrocketing food prices, and fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Bashir imposed a nationwide state of emergency Feb. 22 in an attempt to suppress the protests after an initial crackdown failed. The government said weeks ago that 31 people had been killed, but the group Physicians for Human Rights estimates the death toll is at least 60.

The government continues to enforce tough measures that have resulted in the arrests of protesters, opposition leaders and journalists.