Khartoum- Sudan’s main opposition group and supporter of the protest movement on Sunday rejected its call to stage a two-day general strike, in the first sign of a rift within the movement negotiating the launch of civilian rule.

Talks between leaders of the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, and army generals who seized power after ousting autocrat Omar Al Bashir last month are deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body - a civilian or soldier.

In a bid to step up pressure on the generals, the protest movement has called for a general strike starting Tuesday, but the National Umma Party, a key backer of the movement, rejected the measure.

“We reject the general strike announced by some opposition groups” in the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the National Umma Party said in a statement.

“A general strike is a weapon that should be used after it is agreed upon by everybody,” Umma said.

“We have to avoid such escalated measures that are not fully agreed.”

The National Umma Party led by former premier Sadiq Al Mahdi said any such decision should be taken by a council of leaders of the protest movement.

Such a council was still not in place and “will be composed in a meeting on Monday”, it said.

It was Al Mahdi’s elected government that Al Bashir, who himself was deposed on April 11, toppled in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

In a recent interview with AFP, Al Mahdi warned protesters not to “provoke” the army’s rulers as they had been instrumental in ousting Al Bashir.

Talks still deadlocked

Minutes after Umma’s statement, another key member of the protest movement, the Sudanese Congress Party, said the strike will go ahead as planned.

It said the strike was a new measure “to complete the mission of the revolution, which definitely will achieve its victory”.

The military toppled Al Bashir after months-long protests across Sudan led by the Alliance for Freedom and Change against his iron-fisted rule of three decades.