• Monday, Dec 06, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:15 am

Sudan PM, ministers detained in apparent military coup

  • Published at 11:37 am October 25th, 2021
Sudan Coup Unrest
People gather on the streets as smoke rises in Kartoum, Sudan, amid reports of a coup, October 25, 2021, in this still image from video obtained via social media RASD Sudan Network via Reuters

Media reports clashes outside army HQ

Soldiers arrested most of the members of Sudan's cabinet and a large number of pro-government party leaders on Monday in an apparent military coup, three political sources said, throwing a fragile transition towards democracy into disarray.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was detained and moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, the information ministry said.

Joint military forces holding Hamdok under house arrest were pressuring him to issue a supportive statement, it said.

There was no immediate comment from the military.

Sudan has been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups meant to be sharing power following the 2019 ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was toppled and jailed after months of street protests. A political transition agreed after his ouster has seen Sudan emerge from its isolation under three decades of rule by Bashir and was meant to lead to elections by the end of 2023.

The military had stirred unrest in eastern Sudan and used the crisis to implement a coup against the government of Hamdok, the director of his office told al-Arabiya TV channel.

The takeover happened in spite of an agreement Hamdok had reached with the head of a ruling council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in the presence of US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman, he added, according to the Dubai-based channel.

People gather around as smoke and fire are seen on the streets of Kartoum, amid reports of a coup on October 25, 2021 /Reuters

Sudan's state television said Burhan would deliver a statement shortly.

Protesters had moved past barricades and entered the street surrounding military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, footage on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Mubasher television channel showed.

The footage also showed soldiers standing by as protesters passed them and marched down the street.

Citing witnesses, Al-Arabiya television said there were injuries in clashes in front of army headquarters.

'Reject this coup attempt'

The information ministry said military forces had also arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and members of the government.

In a statement sent to Reuters, the ministry asked Sudanese "to block the military's movements to block the democratic transition." "We raise our voices loudly to reject this coup attempt," it said.

A Reuters witness saw joint forces from the military and from the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces stationed in the streets of Khartoum.

Sudan's PM Abdalla Hamdok addresses the media at the Chancellery in Berlin on February 14, 2020 Reuters

The military was meant to pass leadership of the joint Sovereign Council to a civilian figure in the coming months.

But the timing of the handover had been left unclear, as transitional authorities struggled to move forward on key issues including whether to hand Bashir over to the International Criminal Court.

In recent weeks, civilian officials had claimed credit for some tentative signs of economic stabilisation after a sharp devaluation of the currency and the lifting of fuel subsidies.

Feltman, who was visiting Sudan on Saturday and Sunday, said the United States was deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover of the transitional government in Sudan.

On the official Twitter of the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs, Feltman warned that a military takeover would contravene Sudan's Constitutional Declaration and puts at risk US assistance.

The United Nations was deeply concerned about reports of a coup and attempts to undermine Sudan's political transition, said Volker Perthes, special representative of the UN secretary general for the country.

Military forces stormed Sudanese Radio and Television headquarters in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, and arrested employees, the information ministry said on its Facebook page.

Two major political parties, the Umma and the Sudanese Congress, condemned what they said was a coup and the campaign of arrests.

The Reuters witness said military and paramilitary forces deployed across Khartoum, restricting civilians' movements, as protesters carrying the national flag burnt tires in different parts of the city.

Khartoum airport was shut and international flights were suspended, according to Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV channel.

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