The acting prime minister and other officials were arrested as Sudan’s military seized power on Monday and dissolved the transitional government, NBC News reports.
The coup comes after months of rising tensions reached a fever pitch in the country, where civilian groups and the military have shared power in a transitional coalition, called the Sovereign Council since former president Omar al-Bashir was removed from power in 2019.
Last week, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said a full transition to civilian rule should be in place by November 17 and he stated that the country should honor the process of democracy.
Hamdok, along with his wife Muna Abdallah, were placed under house arrest earlier in the day, and then moved to an undisclosed location, his economic advisor Adam Hireka told CNN.
In response to the coup, thousands of Sudanese citizens poured into the streets in protest of the coup that threatens the country’s prospects for a democracy.
Protesters could be heard chanting, “The people are stronger, stronger” and “Retreat is not an option!”
At least 12 protesters were wounded in demonstrations, according to the Sudanese Doctors Committee.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the military, announced on the nation’s TV network that he was dissolving the government and the Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body created four months after al-Bashir’s ouster to give leadership to the country.
According to Burhan, internal fighting among political factions was the cause of the military’s intervention. He declared a state of emergency noting that the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, which are scheduled for July 2023. In his address, he made clear the military will remain in charge for the foreseeable future.
“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” he said.
He added that the country’s constitution would be revised and a legislative body would be created with the participation of “young men and women who made this revolution.”
The Information Ministry of Sudan, still loyal to the dissolved government, described Burhan’s speech as an “announcement of a seizure of power by a military coup.”
The United States said it was “deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover of the transitional government.”
“As we have said repeatedly, any changes to the transitional government by force puts at risk US assistance,” Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman said in a tweet on the official account of the US State Department’s Africa Bureau.
Feltman, who visited Sudan over the weekend, said the military takeover “is utterly unacceptable” and “would contravene the Constitutional Declaration and the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people.”
Volker Perthes, the UN’s Special Representative for Sudan said “the reported detentions of the Prime Minister, government officials, and politicians are unacceptable,” and asked all parties to “exercise utmost restraint” and called for them to “return to dialogue” in order to “restore the constitutional order.“
The African Union has called for the release of all Sudanese political leaders including Hamdok.
“Dialogue and consensus is the only relevant path to save the country and its democratic transition,” said Moussa Faki, the head of the African Union commission.