Military forces in Sudan have detained Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok after besieging his house early on Monday, triggering fears of a potential coup d'état .
In a statement, Sudan's Ministry of Information confirmed that Hamdok has been detained. It said the prime minister has been moved to an unknown location "after refusing to support coup".
Earlier, media reports, citing unknown sources, said unidentified military forces stormed Hamdok’s house in the capital Khartoum and arrested him. The arrests reportedly took place before dawn on Monday.
Several members of the country’s civilian leadership were also taken into custody, according to reports.
Among those arrested include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, Information Minister Hamza Baloul, and media adviser to the PM, Faisal Mohammed Saleh, according to Al-Hadath TV.
Sudanese army generals Hemedti and Burhan put PM Abdallah Hamdok under house arrest and arrested most of civilian ministers in his government in another coup d’etat. Hemedti and Burhan exploited Sudan’s revolution to overthrow Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Mind-boggling. pic.twitter.com/MjJyxWgspB— Wirjil (@Wirjil) October 25, 2021
Spokesman for the country’s ruling sovereign council, Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, and the governor of Khartoum, Ayman Khalid, were also arrested, reports said.
While official statement from the military on the dramatic developments is awaited, telecommunication lines have been snapped and roads leading into Khartoum city have been blocked.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the African country’s prominent political group, has termed the developments an apparent military coup and urged public to take to the streets.
Sudan: Protests again the coup in Khartoum pic.twitter.com/UPxHtXVgML— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) October 25, 2021
Reports of demonstrations in some neighborhoods of Khartoum are already coming in. Importantly, separate rallies were held in recent days in support of both the military and the government.
Last week, Sudanese protesters rallied near the presidential palace in Khartoum demanding the dissolution of the transitional government.
Pro-military demonstrators carried banners calling for the dismissal of the government, while some claimed that the transitional administration had “failed” politically and economically.
Crisis-stricken Sudan has been embroiled in a longstanding political crisis since the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, driven mostly by deteriorating economic woes.
The transitional government has time and again pledged to fix the economy battered by decades of corruption, internal conflicts, and international sanctions.
But support for the government has waned in recent months amid a tough package of IMF-backed economic reforms, including slashing of fuel subsidies and a managed float of the Sudanese pound.
The Sudanese military leaders demand a cabinet overhaul and civilian figures reject any move to dissolve the current government as tensions escalate in the country.
The military leaders claim they are committed to the transition to democracy and holding of elections at the end of 2023. Civilian leaders, however, say the military wants to install a government that it can control.
The latest developments come after the government said it had thwarted a coup attempt on September 2. The abortive coup plot created bad blood between the military and civilian groups in the country.
Pertinently, under pressure from the US, Sudan last year joined the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in agreeing to normalize ties with the Israeli regime, which did irreparable damage to the government’s image.