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Protests Force Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir to Resign

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Omar Al-Bashir, a political hardliner and controversial leader of Sudan, has stepped down after 30 years in power, reports said Thursday.

United Arab Emirates-based Al-Arabiya network reported that Mr Al-Bashir resigned his position with immediate effect. Reuters also cited government sources as saying Mr Al-Bashir has stepped down and a new government was being formed.

The 75-year-old has reportedly handed over to the country’s supreme military council controlled by the armed forces.

His ouster follows days of protests that have engulfed the country, which is amongst the largest by land mass in Africa.

Reports of Mr Al-Bashir’s resignation came shortly after the soldiers reportedly surrounded his palace in the capital Khartoum.

Agence France-Press cited state television as announcing the military was gearing for an important message to the nation, but the statement did not appear to have come before Mr Al-Bashir’s reported exit.

Additional details of Mr Al-Bashir’s ouster were still sketchy as of early Thursday morning in Abuja, as other claims on social media said it came through a military coup d’etat.

Mr Al-Bashir has been highly unpopular amongst Western powers and was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2008 for alleged crimes stemming from the genocide in Darfur.

While he remained an unwelcome political figure in the West, African leaders, however, largely stood behind him, dismissing the charges against him as a witch-hunt and refusing to hand him over for prosecution at The Hague.

He seized power in 1989 as a military general and has served the longest since the country gained independence in 1956.

Heavy chants against Mr Al-Bashir’s reign rented the air across the county, and solidarity songs by the military were reported to be playing on the airwaves.

The minister of defence has been tipped as the head of the military council now in charge of the country. It was not immediately clear when new elections would be held.

Al-Arabiya reports that several former and current officials, including a former vice president, have been detained.

Airports have been shut down and some broadcast stations were said to have been taken over by soldiers.

Protesters have been asked to move to the main square for a further sit-in. Protesters are matching to the military headquarters, demanding that the military should only supervise the ouster of Mr Al-Bashir, but not take over power in its aftermath.

Mr Al-Bashir has reportedly fled to Saudi Arabia, but details of this development are also still sketchy.

More than 50 persons were reported to have been killed since agitation for Mr Al-Bashir to leave power took off in December.

This is a developing story, additional details will be provided.

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Brazil Rally Back to Win U-17 World Cup

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Brazil staged a remarkable comeback for the second time in a week on Sunday to beat Mexico 2-1 in front of their own fans and win the Under-17 World Cup for a fourth time.

Just three days after they recovered from being 2-0 down to beat France 3-2 in the semi-finals, Brazil scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to overcome their Latino rivals.

Although Brazil had more of the early chances, Mexico took the lead at 66 minutes when Bryan Gonzalez rose between two defenders to head a cross from the left into the net.

Kaio Jorge equalised from the penalty spot with six minutes remaining after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) advised officials to pull playback following a challenge on Veron.

Then three minutes into stoppage time, substitute Lazaro ran on to a cross ball and calmly fired home, to the delight of the home crowd.

The Flamengo forward had also come off the bench to score the winner in Thursday’s last-minute win over France.

“They use the VAR when it is convenient for them,” said an unhappy Mexican coach Marco Ruiz. “We had the game under control until the VAR decision. They grew after that.”

The win was revenge of a sorts for Brazil, who lost 3-0 to Mexico in the Under-17 final in 2005, as well as to their Under-23 team in the final of the 2012 Olympics.

Earlier in the day, Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga scored a hat trick to help France come from behind to beat the Netherlands 3-1 and take third-place.

Dutchman Sontje Hansen won the golden boot for the top goalscorer with six goals.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Bayelsa Guber: APC Dislodges PDP in Massive Landslide Victory

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The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has emerged the winner of the governorship election held on Saturday.

Lyon, who won in six of the state’s eight local government areas, defeated his closest rival, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Diri won in two local governments.

Lyon’s victory marks the first time the PDP would lose a governorship election in the state since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.

The Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, had after he released the result of the Ekeremor Local Government Area, which was the last being expected by INEC on Monday night, promised that the final result would be made public before 1am on Monday.

Orumwense made good his promise as he announced that Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Diri, who polled 143,172 votes some minutes after 1am.

Lyon was declared winner in six out of the eight local governments announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre in the state commission’s headquarters in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The six local government areas won by the APC are Brass; Nembe; Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Yenagoa while the PDP won in the Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas.

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Theatres of War: Four Killed in Kogi, Violence Rocks Bayelsa

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The Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections as well as the Kogi West senatorial rerun were on Saturday characterised by violence, shootings, killings, vote-buying and ballot box snatching as many polling units across the two states experienced tension created by political thugs.

Four people were killed in Kogi during the election by political thugs while many were injured in Bayelsa where peace took flight as a result of electoral violence.

The Commissioner of Police in Kogi State, Hakeem Busari, had before the elections assured residents of the state of the safety of their lives and property as adequate personnel would be drafted for the polls.

The elections commenced on a peaceful note across the state as there was a large turnout of voters with the electorate, mostly women trooped to the various polling units as early as 6.30am in Kogi.

But in spite of Busari’s assurance and voters enthusiasm, mayhem broke out in some polling units in Kogi East, Kogi West and Lokoja, the state capital.

Two persons were also reportedly killed by stray bullets at the Adankolo polling unit in Lokoja.

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the incident happened when some hoodlums tried to snatch ballot boxes at the polling unit.

Eyewitness said the two persons were killed when voters resisted the thugs. The thugs, it was gathered, killed the two persons while a passerby sustained a life-threatening injury from gunshot wound.

This angered the youth who mobilised and set the house of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in the area ablaze.

When the state police command was contacted, its spokesperson, DSP William Aya, said all enquiries should be directed to the Commissioner of Police in the state Commissioner of Police.

The Punch

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