Sudanese protesters lift national flags as they rally on 60th Street in the capital Khartoum
Armed forces detained Sudan’s prime minister over his refusal to support their “coup” on Monday, the information ministry said, after weeks of tensions between the military and civilian figures sharing power since the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Civilian members of Sudan’s ruling council and ministers in Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government had also been detained, the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.
Soldiers stormed the headquarters of Sudan’s state broadcaster in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman, the ministry said, as patriotic songs were aired on television.
“Civilian members of the transitional sovereign council and a number of ministers from the transitional government have been detained by joint military forces,” the ministry said.
It added that “after refusing to support the coup, an army force detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and took him to an unidentified location”.
“Any changes to the transitional government by force puts at risk US assistance,” Feltman said on Twitter.
“I am calling on security forces to immediately release all those unlawfully detained or put under house arrest,” said Volker Perthes, chief of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan.
“The EU calls on all stakeholders and regional partners to put back on track the transition process,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell tweeted.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of trade unions which were key in leading the 2019 anti-Bashir protests, denounced what it called a “military coup” and urged demonstrators “to fiercely resist” it.
Sudan has been undergoing a precarious transition marred by political divisions and power struggles since Bashir was toppled in April 2019.
The ex-president has been wanted by the International Criminal Court for more than a decade over charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region.
But the main civilian bloc — the Forces for Freedom and Change — which led the anti-Bashir protests in 2019, has splintered into two opposing factions.
“We renew our confidence in the government, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and reforming transitional institutions — but without dictations or imposition,” Arman added.
Protesters took to the streets in several parts of Khartoum carrying the Sudanese flags.
“We will not accept military rule and we are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan,” said demonstrator Haitham Mohamed.
– Rival protests –
Last week tens of thousands of Sudanese marched in several cities to back the full transfer of power to civilians, and to counter a rival days-long sit-in outside the presidential palace in Khartoum demanding a return to “military rule”.
On Saturday, Hamdok denied rumours he had agreed to a cabinet reshuffle, calling them “not accurate”.
Also on Saturday, Feltman met jointly with Hamdok, the chairman of Sudan’s ruling body General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
Analysts have said the recent mass protests showed strong support for a civilian-led democracy, but warned street demonstrations may have little impact on the powerful factions pushing a return to military rule.
Originally published as Armed forces detain PM and other leaders in Sudan ‘coup’