Sudan military shuts down internet, detains PM, others over refusal to support coup

Latest news on Sudan coup

Following weeks of tensions between military and civilian officials who have shared power since the overthrow of tyrant Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s prime minister was detained by armed forces on Monday for refusing to support their “coup,” according to the information ministry.

The combined military forces also detained civilian members of Sudan’s ruling council and ministers in Hamdok’s transitional government, the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

The country’s internet connections were disrupted, and the key highways and bridges connected to the capital, Khartoum, were closed, according to the report.

Dozens of protesters set fire to car tyres as they gathered on the streets of the city to protest the detentions, according to reports.

“Civilian members of the transitional sovereign council and a number of ministers from the transitional government have been detained by joint military forces,” the information ministry said.

“They have been led to an unidentified location,” it said.

It added later that “after refusing to support the coup, an army force detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and took him to an unidentified location”.

“The US is very disturbed about allegations of a military takeover of the transitional administration,” said US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman.

“This would contravene the Constitutional Declaration (which outlines the transition) and the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people,” Feltman said in a statement on Twitter.

“Any changes to the transitional government by force puts at risk US assistance.”

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella organization of trade unions that played a crucial role in organising the anti-Bashir rallies in 2019, denounced a “military coup” and urged protesters to “vehemently resist” it.

The incidents occurred barely two days after a Sudanese faction seeking a civilian-led power transfer warned of a “creeping coup” during a news conference that was disrupted by an anonymous crowd.

Sudan has been through a hazardous transition since the removal of Bashir in April 2019, characterised by political tensions and power struggles.

The country has been headed by a civilian-military government since August 2019, with the purpose of monitoring the transition to complete civilian authority.

However, the major civilian coalition, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which spearheaded anti-Bashir rallies in 2019, has split into two rival factions.

Tensions between the two sides have long simmered, but divisions ratcheted up after a failed coup on September 21 this year.

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”

Analysts believe the recent massive rallies showed widespread support for a civilian-led democracy, but they warn that street protests may have little impact on powerful groups vying for military leadership.

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