Armed soldiers in Sudan launched an offensive against members of the country’s caretaker government, raising fears of yet another military coup in a country long beset by political turmoil.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was taken into custody by soldiers on Monday morning after an unknown team of soldiers stormed his residence, local reports said. Sudanese forces also held five ministers, including four military members and one civilian, of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Al Hadath TV reported.
A media aide to Mr Hamdok was also reportedly arrested, Reuters said, in a plot that came barely a month after an attempted coup the country sparked worldwide condemnation.
The latest move by the military to remove Mr Hamdok, who assumed power in 2019, from power has also generated an uproar on Monday morning. Sudanese Professionals Association said in a statement that citizens should take to the streets to reject any military coup.
Internet outages were also reported across the capital Khartoum on Monday and confirmed by web infrastructure monitors Netblocks.
“Internet disrupted in #Sudan amid reports of military coup and detention of Prime Minister; real-time network data show national connectivity at 34% of ordinary levels; incident ongoing,” the group said on its Twitter handle.
Monday’s apparent takeover of power came a day after protesters loyal to the military blocked entrances leading to the capital on Sunday. Military and civilians have been sharing power since Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019, and last month’s attempted coup was summarily blamed on soldiers loyal to Mr Bashir, who has been charged with war crimes.
On Saturday, Jeffrey Feltman, United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, held talks with military and civilian leaders in Khartoum, urging them to strike a power-sharing deal.
Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of Transitional Sovereignty Council in Sudan, is believed poised to take absolute power following today’s coup. During Saturday’s meeting with Mr Feltman, Mr Al-Burhan expressed his readiness to resolve all crises assailing the power-sharing agreement and work with civilians to restore democratic order.
Monday’s development in Sudan came less than two months after soldiers led a successful takeover of power in Guinea on September 5, ending President Alpha Conde’s long grip on power.
In April, Chadian soldiers coordinated a bloody coup, assassinating President Idriss Déby to seize power. The African Union condemns the military coups as old-fashioned, undemocratic and dangerous, but the regional block has not been able to hold the coup plotters to account.