Sudanese Prime Minister Ahmed Bilal Muhammad was detained and the country is now in a state of military coup. The situation has been called “catastrophic” by analysts with little information on what will happen next for Sudan’s economy, security, and citizens.
Sudan’s prime minister has been arrested, according to the nation’s information ministry and many government officials, after an apparent military takeover of the transitional government that has been leading the country since the ousting of longtime tyrant Omar al-Bashir.
Tensions between civilian authorities and the generals who have been controlling Sudan under an ill-fated power-sharing agreement have been rising for many weeks, despite Sudan’s mounting economic catastrophe.
Thousands of demonstrators came to the streets of Khartoum and other major cities this week, demanding that the military give over leadership of the nation to civilian officials, in a repeat of the months-long demonstrations that led Mr. Bashir’s removal in 2019. A smaller group of protestors had scaled barriers guarding the presidential palace in Khartoum a few days earlier in what they said was a demonstration of support for a military coup.
The army has relocated Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to an undisclosed location.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images photo
According to many government insiders, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and at least four cabinet members were originally placed under house arrest early Monday morning, when the military spent hours attempting to persuade him to issue a statement dissolving the transitional government. According to the authorities, Mr. Hamdok refused to cooperate.
“The army detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and took him to an unidentified location after he refused to take part in the coup,” the information ministry said.
Soldiers and paramilitary members of the Rapid Support Forces patrolled Khartoum, while internet monitoring company NetBlocks claimed that connections throughout Sudan had been cut. Sudan’s military-led Sovereign Council, including its leader, Gen. Abdelfattah al-Burhan, could not be contacted for comment immediately.
Mr. Hamdock, an economist, warned the country earlier this month that civil-military tensions were jeopardizing Sudan’s transition to democracy after three decades of military rule.
“Sudan is in the midst of the biggest and most deadly crisis in its history, which not only jeopardizes the transition, but also jeopardizes our whole nation,” Mr. Hamdok warned at the time. “Our revolution is on the verge of collapsing.”
On Monday morning, US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, declared on Twitter that the US was “very worried” by allegations of a military takeover of the transitional government. This would be in direct violation of the Constitutional Declaration and the Sudanese people’s democratic aspirations, and is completely unacceptable.”
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy leader, said he was “very concerned” about the situation. He stated, “The EU calls on all stakeholders and regional partners to get the transition process back on track.”
Despite the fact that Mr. Bashir’s removal helped Sudan end years of international isolation, the country has been plagued by hyperinflation and shortages of basic items such as wheat, gasoline, and medicines.
Nicholas Bariyo can be reached at [email protected]
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