Sudanese protesters use burning tires to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan, June 3, 2019.
Sudanese protesters use burning tires to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan, June 3, 2019.

KHARTOUM - Sudan's ruling military council has acknowledged it ordered the June 3 attack on protesters in Khartoum that left dozens of people dead. Meanwhile, talks between the council and opposition parties on forming an interim government appear to have stalled again.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Shams Aldin Al-Kabashi, spokesman for the Transitional Military Council (TMC), said the entire leadership of the army — Rapid Support Forces (RSF), security organs and the police, as well as the judiciary and the general prosecutor — signed off on the order. 

Protesters had camped outside the Defense Ministry for eight weeks, demanding Sudan be returned to civilian rule after the military's overthrow of longtime president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.  

Al-Kabashi acknowledged that the dispersal operation got out of hand, saying the TMC ordered the leaders of forces on the ground to plan and implement for the dispersal of the sit-in, but violations were committed during the operation. 

FILE - A Sudanese protester holds a national flag as he stands on a barricade along a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan, June 5, 2019.

The health ministry said at least 61 people were killed during the raid, but doctors aligned with the opposition put the death toll at more than 100.

Talks stalled

Meanwhile, it appears the TMC and the opposition alliance of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) have reached a new standoff in their talks on an interim government. 

A leading member of the FFC, Medani Aba, emphasized the opposition wants an independent investigation of the June 3 raid, redeployment of military forces outside Khartoum, and a transfer of power to civilians.  

In addition, the group rejects direct talks with the TMC, unless it's on the procedural ways of handing the power to the civilian authority, Medani said. 

FILE - Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Nov. 30, 2018.

The United States also wants to see a transfer of power to civilians, as the top U.S. diplomat to Africa, Tibor Nagy, told reporters during a visit Thursday to Khartoum.  

"... the entire international community wants exactly what the Sudanese people want. ... We all want a civilian-led government that is acceptable to the Sudanese people," he said. 

The TMC and FFC agreed last week to resume negotiations after meetings with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The two sides agreed in principle last month to form an interim government made up of both civilians and the military. However, they failed to agree about which side would have a majority of seats in the proposed council. 

On Thursday, the TMC spokesman rejected the FFC's latest demands, indicating the talks are at an impasse again.