Sudan's Army Monday has taken control of the capital city of Khartoum and arrested acting Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok as well as members of the sovereign council and other leading politicians. The coup has been condemned around the world, and the US halted US $ 700 million in aid, it was reported.
The city’s airport is closed and international flights have been suspended, while the internet and most phone lines are also down.
The group led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has also declared a state of emergency after firing at thousands of protesters who flooded the streets of Khartoum in opposition to the extreme measures which, according to the triumphing rebels, were necessary to “rectify the revolution’s course” amid internal struggles between military and civilian parties.
As security forces used tear gas to disperse them, protesters could be heard shouting: The people are stronger, stronger and: Withdrawal is not an option! At least three people are reported to have died and some 80 have been hurt after soldiers fired on crowds opposing a military takeover in Sudan. Troops are reported to have been going house to house in the capital Khartoum arresting local protest organisers.
Sudan had been on the brink of institutional collapse since a failed coup plot last month sparked recriminations among military and civilian groups who have been sharing power after the overthrow of the autocrat Omar al-Bashir two years ago.
Members of a disparate alliance that includes warlords, military men, militia leaders and former loyalists to the Bashir regime have been calling for the restoration of military rule, while several cabinet ministers last week participated in large protests in Khartoum and other cities.
Prime Minister Hamdok was detained overnight and taken to an undisclosed location after refusing to state support of the coup, said the Information Ministry, which was still under the control of Hamdok supporters.
As news of the coup spread, large numbers of anti-military protesters converged on key streets in Khartoum, pushing barriers outside the military headquarters where clashes and injuries were reported. The Information Ministry said protesters faced gunfire as they gathered near the Defense Ministry headquarters.
Images posted on social media appeared to show large crowds marching on Khartoum's Africa Street, which runs from near the international airport towards the city centre, with the sound of gunfire audible in some videos. Initial reports suggest that at least a dozen people were injured.
Sudan has experienced a series of coups since gaining independence from Great Britain and Egypt in 1956. Bashir came to power in a military coup in 1989 after overthrowing the country's last elected government. Since Bashir was ousted by street protests, a political transition has seen Sudan emerge from international isolation under his rule of nearly three decades. Elections would be held in late 2023. The army was supposed to pass the leadership of the joint sovereign council on to a civilian, but transitional authorities had struggled to move forward on issues such as handing over Bashir to the International Criminal Court, where he is wanted for war crimes.