The warning comes after militia fighters launched an attack on the main sit-in protest site, killing and injuring dozens.

One of the most senior protest leaders in Sudan has told Sky News the country is on the verge of descending into civil war, with regular army officers preparing to march on the capital Khartoum in support of civilians.

The warnings come after militia fighters launched an attack on the main sit-in protest site, killing and injuring dozens, with tear gas and live fire.

Dr Mudawi Ibrahim, widely tipped as a future prime minister in a civilian administration, said the military council currently running the country decided to back the militia attack “in an operation planned two or three days ago”.

Mudawi Ibrahim is widely tipped as a future prime minister
Image:Dr Mudawi Ibrahim is widely tipped as a future prime minister

He said the Sudanese people will take to the streets across the country and that despite the efforts of the military to keep power, something he believes they always intended to do, they will not be able to win because “they can’t be everywhere and they can’t control everyone”.

Speaking from his Khartoum home, the civil rights expert, who was regularly jailed by the fallen dictator Omar al Bashir, predicted more violence in the coming days.

“The military is going to revolt, especially young officers,” he said.

“There is already information that some divisions have decided not to follow orders. This could go in any direction but a civil war is very near. The interim military council is not the military, it’s now the interim military militia.”

The clearance of the protest site outside the military headquarters was carried out by the notoriously brutal rapid support forces (RSF), a militia created and heavily funded and armed by the deposed president.

They operate separately to the regular army and emerged from the Janjaweed militia in Darfur that killed and displaced millions in the 1990s.

Protesters flee from gunfire in Khartoum

Social media pictures show units firing at the crowds and stopping, detaining and beating people across Khartoum.

The military council has said it wants to resume talks.

“People are laughing at these statements,” Dr Ibrahim said.

“How can they continue to talk after this? They only talk to themselves. They brought the militia in (to Khartoum) for an operation planned from two or three days back. They brought them in and prepared for the attack.

“Now they are spread across the city and they are targeting people, innocent people.”

A tire burns outside army HQ in Khartoum
Image:A tyre burns outside the army HQ in Khartoum

Talks between the military council and representatives of the protest movement have been going on for weeks but have stalled in recent days.

The protesters want the military excluded from the future government, something the military has consistently refused.

It was believed a compromise deal was imminent, but protesters have always feared the talks were a smokescreen to mask the military’s continuing determination to stay in control of the country and government.

People wave flags and chant slogans outside army headquarters
Image:People wave flags and chant slogans outside the army headquarters

Dr Ibhrahim said: “The people won’t accept this. They are already back on the streets and more will come. In areas outside Khartoum the people will confront the RSF and kick them out or fight.

“There are dark days ahead but the people are just going to say no.”

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