Sudan PM Hamdok under house arrest, several others seized in apparent power grab

 

October 25, 2021

 

  • Raiders surround the residence of Hamdok and storm the house of his media adviser


Demonstrators protest against the prospect of military rule in Khartoum, Sudan, on Oct. 21, 2021. Their fears have been justified on Monday. Photo: Reuters

 

By Arab News

 

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been placed under house arrest and a number of Cabinet ministers and other officials arrested in an apparent coup by a still unidentified military force, local and regional media reported early Monday.

Alhadath TV said four cabinet ministers and a member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council were among those arrested. Men in military uniform cut off the main roads leading to the capital, and state television was broadcasting patriotic songs.

There was no immediate comment from the military.

The Khartoum airport was shut and international flights were suspended on Monday, the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV channel reported, amid reports of a military coup. There was no announcement from the Sudanese government on the status of the airport.

Reacting to the developments, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, Sudan’s main pro-democratic political group, called on people to take to the street to counter an apparent military coup.

The association also said there were Internet and phone signal outages in the country.

One of those arrested was Ali Al-Rayh Al-Sanhouri, secretary-general of the Sudanese Baath Party, Al-Sharq reported, quoting unnamed sources.

The report said Council of Sovereignty member Mohammed Al-Jawki was also under arrest, along with Minister of Cabinet Affairs Khaled Omar Yusuf.

The raiders have surrounded the residence of Hamdok and stormed the house of his media adviser, whom they then took under custody, various media reports said.

The arrests have come as the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman met with Sudanese military and civilian leaders Saturday and Sunday in efforts to resolve a growing dispute. Sudan’s Stat News website highlighted the meetings with military officials.

Since August 2019, the country has been led by a civilian-military administration tasked with overseeing the transition to full civilian rule.

The main civilian bloc – the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) – which led the anti-Bashir protests in 2019, has splintered into two opposing factions.

“The crisis at hand is engineered – and is in the shape of a creeping coup,” mainstream FFC leader Yasser Arman told the Saturday press conference in the capital Khartoum.

“We renew our confidence in the government, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and reforming transitional institutions – but without dictations or imposition,” Arman added.

A failed coup attempt in September fractured the country along old lines, pitting more conservative Islamists who want a military government against those who toppled autocratic former ruler Omar Al-Bashir in mass protests. In recent days, both camps have taken to the street in demonstrations.

Last week, several cabinet ministers took part in big protests in several parts of the Khartoum and other cities against the prospect of military rule.

The military head of the Sovereign Council has previously asserted his commitment to the transition.

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