PM, Ministers detained
The fragile civilian-military power sharing arrangement in Sudan seems to have come to an end as the military has effectively effected a coup d’etat.
Agency reports say that soldiers on Monday arrested most of the members of Sudan’s cabinet and many pro-government party leaders in an apparent military coup.
This throws the fragile transition towards democracy in Sudan into confusion.
While Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been detained and moved to an undisclosed location, he is being pressured to issue a statement in support of the coup according to the information ministry.
There has been no immediate comment from the military.
According to reports, 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.
In its report , the TV channel, al-Arabiya says it was told by a director in the PM’s office that the military had stirred unrest in eastern Sudan and used the crisis to implement a coup against the government of Hamdok.
The channel reports further that the takeover happened despite an agreement that Hamdok had reached with the head of a ruling council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in the presence of U.S. special envoy Jeffrey Feltman.
Sudan’s state television said Burhan would deliver a statement shortly.
Al-Jazeera TV reports that protesters had moved past barricades and entered the street surrounding military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.
Footage on the TV channel 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.
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.
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.