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

United Arab Emirates-based Al-Arabiya network reported that Mr Al-Bashir resigned his position with immediate effect.

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 (AFP) 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 unwelcomed 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.

Protests against the government of President Bashir reached a climax on the symbolic date of 6 April, which is the anniversary of a non-violent uprising that removed the dictator Jaafar Nimeiri in 1985.

They began in the northern town of Atbara on 19 December 2018, focused on high food prices, and quickly spread to other towns and cities across Sudan. The demonstrations changed from a narrowly economic agenda to demanding that President Bashir, who took power in a coup in June 1989, step down.

The protests have continued for close to four months, gaining in numbers and organisation, almost entirely non-violent. According to who is counting, between 45 and 60 people have been killed by government forces firing on the demonstrators, and hundreds have been arrested – some of them tortured.