Sudan’s state news media said Thursday that the military would make an important announcement. The statement comes as protests against the rule of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the country’s authoritarian leader, have engulfed the nation.
“The Sudanese army will issue an important statement soon. Wait for it,” a television anchor said, according to Agence France-Presse, a newswire.
Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that thousands of people had descended on the country’s defense ministry chanting, “It has fallen, we have won.”
Mr. al-Bashir, who has long been regarded as a pariah in the West and is wanted on genocide charges in connection with atrocities in Darfur, has ruled Sudan longer than any leader since the country gained independence in 1956.
The state news media report, accompanied by patriotic music, was made as protesters gathered outside the military’s headquarters in Khartoum, the country’s capital, demanding Mr. al-Bashir’s ouster.
Mr. al-Bashir came to power as a little-known general in 1989 during an Islamist and military-backed coup. In the following years, he purged Islamists and insiders from his party, and demonstrated a knack for political survival.
For much of Mr. al-Bashir’s 30 years in power, he waged war across the south and west of his country. His regime bombed civilians in the Nuba Mountains with warplanes and, according to the International Criminal Court, presided over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur region in the west.
Mr. al-Bashir himself is under indictment before the court on charges that he played “an essential role” in atrocities in Darfur, overseeing forces that killed, raped and terrorized thousands of civilians. Before his ouster, he was the only active leader of a nation to be wanted by the court.