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BREAKING NEWS

Sudan's Bashir reshuffles senior military staff - statement

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KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir reshuffled his senior military staff on Tuesday, a day after announcing sweeping new security powers to contend with months of anti-government protests, the most sustained street opposition of his 30-year rule.

Several members of Sudan's eight-strong military staff council switched positions and General Essam al-Din Mubarak, the former deputy head of the council, was given a new position as minister of state in the defence ministry.

"These are normal, routine changes that happen from time to time," the military spokesman said.

Bashir announced a nationwide state of emergency on Friday and issued a raft of edicts on Monday banning unlicensed public gatherings and awarding sweeping new powers to police.

Security forces were given the power to search any building, restrict movement of people and public transport, arrest individuals suspected of a crime related to the state of emergency and seize assets or property during investigations.

The public prosecutor on Tuesday said that emergency prosecutorial bodies would be set up across Sudan to investigate any crimes taking place under the new status.

On Friday Bashir sacked the governors of Sudan's regions and replaced them with officials from the military and security services.

Protesters have staged almost daily demonstrations since December, demanding that Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 military coup, step down. The protests were initially inspired by high prices for bread but have turned into a sustained campaign against Bashir and his government.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdel Aziz; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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