State of emergency in Sudan: Protests erupt as military arrests prime minister, dissolves government

Tensions have been increasing since a failed coup attempt a month ago and anti-government protests last week

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by All Arab News Staff | October 25, 2021
Image Description Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the Sudanese military, announced in a televised address that he was dissolving the country's ruling Sovereign Council, as well as the government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, in Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 25, 2021. (Photo: screenshot Sudan TV)

A state of emergency has been declared in Sudan after Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several top government officials were arrested by the country’s military on Monday.

Protests have erupted across the country.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan – the country’s collective transitional head of state – declared a state of emergency across the country and dissolved the transitional sovereign council and the government.

Sudan’s Ambassador to the U.S, Nureldin Satti, told Newsweek said he is “following events back home with a lot of anxiety.”

“Arrests of ministers and senior officials [are] confirmed and we are concerned about the whereabouts of Prime Minister Hamdok who has been taken by the army to an unknown location,” he said.

In addition to Hamdok, among those arrested is Faisal Mohammed Saleh, his media advisor. CNN reported that Hamdok’s home appears to be surrounded by the military, and it was unclear whether troops were there to arrest or protect the prime minister.

Senior CNN correspondent Larry Madowo posted the ongoing news on his Facebook page.

“The Prime Minister of Sudan Abadalla Hamdok is under house arrest and is calling on the people to ‘occupy the streets to defend their revolution,’ according to the country’s Information ministry. They say he is under pressure to release a statement in ‘support of the takeover’ by the military though CNN could not independently verify that claim,” Madowo posted.

“The more we’re achieving some success, the old forces are extremely nervous. They always dream of coming back,” Hamdok told Madowo on CNN last month.

Leading up to today’s coup tensions have been escalating. Last month, a military coup was thwarted. Then last week, 2,000-3,000 people staged a sit-in last week after protesters urged the military to overthrow the government.

According to a report in the Sudan Tribune, on Saturday protestors “tried to occupy the building of the Sudan News Agency and the Ministry of Information in Khartoum and close several strategic roads in the capital.”

“The Sudanese Islamists seek to take advantage of the ongoing rift between the civil and military components to destabilize the transitional period and bring down the Hamdok government,” the news outlet reported.

U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman – who met with Sudanese military and civilian leaders recently to reiterate American support for Sudan’s peaceful transition to democracy – said he was “deeply alarmed” by Monday’s coup.

Internet and phone service also appears to be disrupted in Khartoum, according to NetBlocks, a group which tracks disruptions across the internet.

“Metrics corroborate user reports network disruptions appearing consistent with an internet shutdown,” the group said. “The disruption is likely to limit the free flow of information online and news coverage of incidents on the ground.”

The current transitional government was set up after Omar al-Bashir was toppled in 2019. The former Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity, including murder and torture and war crimes.

Sudan announced in October it would join the Abraham Accords and normalize relations with Israel. The country has recently been trying to break away from a past riddled with ties to terrorism. However, its inclusion in the Abraham Accords has been slow going and ties with Israel have not developed at the same pace as other countries in the Abraham Accords such as the united Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

In exchange for peace with Israel, the U.S. removed Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and promised financial support to the nation.

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