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Four die in Sudan protests as military rulers say won't allow "chaos"

Credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH

Four people died in Sudan late on Monday in violence that broke out after a political transition deal between the mainstream opposition and military rulers, who said they would not allow the country to descend into "chaos".

KHARTOUM, May 14 (Reuters) - Four people died in Sudan late on Monday in violence that broke out after a political transition deal between the mainstream opposition and military rulers, who said they would not allow the country to descend into "chaos".

One policeman and three protesters were killed in Khartoum and many other demonstrators were wounded, state TV said. Heavy gunfire was heard in the capital late into the evening, but Reuters could not immediately confirm the scale of casualties or who triggered the violence.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) blamed saboteurs. "Behind this are groups that... are working hard to abort any progress in negotiations."

Early on Tuesday the TMC said it would not allow citizens' safety to be jeopardized. "Neither the (paramilitary) Rapid Support Forces or the army will fire one shot at our protesting brothers, but we repeat: we do not allow chaos," it said.

Protesters said counter-revolutionaries linked to the former regime of long-time President Omar al-Bashir incited Monday's violence. The deaths were the first linked to protests in Khartoum in several weeks.

The TMC and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces opposition alliance said on Monday they had agreed to a power structure for the transition following Bashir's removal and arrest last month.

Both said they had agreed on the duties and authorities of sovereign, executive and legislative bodies.

Talks were due to resume on Tuesday to discuss two sticking points: the military-civilian balance of power in transitional bodies, and the length of the transition before elections.

Protesters are pushing for a swift handover of power to civilians and have kept up demonstrations since Bashir's departure, including a more than month-long sit-in outside the Defence Ministry.

(Reporting by Nadine Awadalla in Khartoum and Ali Abdelaty in Cairo; Writing by Lena Masri; editing by John Stonestreet)

((Lena.Masri@thomsonreuters.com;))

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