International reaction to events in Sudan

Sudan’s leading general declared a state of emergency Monday, hours after his forces arrested the acting prime minister and other senior government officials in what the information ministry said amounted to a military coup.

  • African Union calls on release of Sudanese political leaders

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said Sudan’s political leaders should be released and human rights respected.

“The Chairperson calls for the immediate resumption of consultations between civilians and military … The Chairperson reaffirms that dialogue and consensus is the only relevant path to save the country and its democratic transition,” Mahamat said in a statement.

  • Sudanese doctors committee says pro-government protesters injured 

Several pro-government protesters were injured when Sudanese soldiers opened fire on them with live rounds, a Sudanese doctors’ committee said on its Facebook page according to Reuters.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron condemns ‘attempted coup’

Macron tweeted in support of Sudan’s transitional government and called for the immediate release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

“France condemns the attempted coup in Sudan in the strongest terms. I express our support for the Sudanese transitional government and call for the immediate release and safety of the prime minister and civilian leaders,” said Macron on Twitter.

  • General Burhan dissolves government, declares state of emergency

In a televised address, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan announced that he was dissolving the country’s ruling Sovereign Council, as well as the government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Burhan is a military officer who headed the Sovereign Council, a power-sharing ruling body.

In response, thousands flooded the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman to protest the apparent military takeover. Footage shared online appeared to show protesters blocking streets and setting fire to tyres as security forces used tear gas to disperse them. Protesters could be heard chanting, “The people are stronger, stronger” and “Retreat is not an option!” as plumes of smoke filled the air. Videos on social media also showed large crowds crossing bridges over the Nile to the centre of the capital.

Burhan said a new technocratic government would lead the country to elections. He set the date for elections at July 2023. He said quarrels among political factions prompted the military to intervene. He also announced the suspension of the anti-corruption task force. 

Sudan’s information ministry responded that Burhan’s announcement amounted to a military coup.

  • Live bullets fired on protesters, information ministry says

Armed forces fired live rounds at Sudanese people who took to the streets of Khartoum to protest against Monday’s apparent coup, the information ministry said.

“Military forces have fired live bullets on protesters rejecting the military coup outside the army headquarters,” the ministry said in a statement on Facebook, adding that “casualties are expected”.

  • ‘Significant’ international reaction to events in Sudan

“The US has said it is extremely alarmed, the European Union has said it expresses the utmost concern at what is going on. There has been a significant amount of international reaction,” says our reportes.

“For the moment, nobody knows the whereabouts of Prime Minister Hamdok and it has been said on state television that (Sudanese) General al-Burhan will be taking to the airwaves shortly to make a statement.”

  • ‘Hundreds of pro-military demonstrators’ take to streets of Khartoum

“I’ve seen hundreds of pro-military demonstrators taking to the streets, armed with sticks. I have been told that the military are controlling the main bridges linking the city to neighbouring cities. They have also taken control of the national television and radio stations. They will issue a statement very soon,” says FRANCE 24 correspondent Bastien Renouil, speaking from downtown Khartoum. 

“I cannot move anywhere at the moment, we don’t know yet if the military will allow journalists to work freely.”

10:40am Paris time

  • Arab League expresses ‘deep concern’ over apparent coup

The Arab League has released a statement of “deep concern” about the apparent military coup in Sudan.

The Secretary-General of the 22-member bloc, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, urged all parties on Monday to “fully abide” by the constitutional declaration signed in August 2019, which had aimed to pave the way towards a transition to civilian rule and democratic elections following the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

“There are no problems that cannot be resolved [with] dialogue,” Aboul Gheit said after Sudan’s military detained the country’s interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok along with other top cabinet officials, and protesters poured into the streets of the capital, Khartoum.

“It is important to respect all decisions and agreements that were decided upon … refraining from any measures that would disrupt the transitional period and shake stability in Sudan,” the statement added.

  • PM Hamdok asks Sudanese to ‘defend the revolution’

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is reportedly under house arrest, is asking Sudanese people to continue holding peaceful protests and “defend the revolution”, according to a post on Sudan’s information ministry Facebook page.

It says joint military forces that earlier placed Hamdok under house arrest have been pressuring him to announce a statement supporting the coup.

After refusing to endorse the coup, the army has now moved the prime minister to an unknown location, the ministry added in another post.

  • Military storm state broadcaster, detain employees

Soldiers have stormed the headquarters of Sudan’s state broadcaster and detained some employees, the information ministry said, as part of what it has called a “coup”.

“Joint military forces have stormed the TV and radio headquarters in Omdurman and detained a number of staff,” the ministry said in a statement posted on Facebook. 

The internet has been shut down in the country but images have appeared on social media showing angry crowds burning tyres in the streets.

  • EU following events in Sudan ‘with utmost concern’

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday he was following events in Sudan – where an apparent military coup has taken place – with the utmost concern.

“Following with utmost concern ongoing events in #Sudan. The EU calls on all stakeholders and regional partners to put back on track the transition process,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Sudan began a transition to democracy after a popular uprising and the ouster in April 2019 of President Omar al-Bashir, an autocrat shunned by the West who had presided over the country for nearly three decades.

Under an August 2019 agreement, the military is sharing power with officials appointed by civilian political groups in a ruling body known as the Sovereign Council, meant to lead the country to elections by the end of 2023.

  • US ‘deeply alarmed’ at reports of coup

US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said the United States was deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover of the transitional government in Sudan.

On the official Twitter account of the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs, Feltman warned that a military takeover would contravene Sudan’s constitutional declaration and put at risk US assistance.

  • Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok placed under house arrest

Citing unidentified sources, Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Hadath said Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had been placed under house arrest and military forces arrested four cabinet ministers, one civilian member of the ruling Sovereign Council, and several state governors and party leaders.

There was no immediate comment from the military.

The information ministry said “joint military forces” had arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and members of the government and had taken them to an undisclosed location.

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.


Arab Observer

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