At least seven Sudanese civilians have been killed and 140 wounded in clashes between anti-coup protesters and soldiers in Sudan.
On Monday, the leader of the coup, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, ordered the military to arrest Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior government officials and dissolved the transitional Sudanese government.
Hamdok was reportedly detained at the coup leader’s home “for his own safety.”
The military takeover comes merely weeks before Sudan was expected to have its first civilian leadership in three decades. It remains doubtful whether the military leaders will now agree for a free democratic election.
In a public speech, Burhan justified the coup as a necessary response to a mounting political crisis in Sudan.
“There were people who were talking about discriminating against others, and that was driving this country to reach a civil war that would lead to the fragmentation of this country, tearing apart its unity, its fabric and society,” Burhan declared. “These dangers were in front of us. The whole country was deadlocked due to political rivalries. The experience during the past two years has proven that the participation of political forces in the transitional period is flawed and stirs up strife.”
The U.S. condemned the coup in Sudan. Washington – which only few months ago removed Sudan from its lists of state sponsors of terror – announced the suspension of $700 million in aid to the impoverished nation.
“In light of these developments, the United States is pausing assistance from the $700 million in emergency assistance appropriations of economic support funds for Sudan,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Meanwhile, the European Union threatened on Tuesday to cut financial assistance to Sudan if power is not transferred back to a civilian government.
“This attempt to undermine Sudan’s transition to democracy is unacceptable. If the situation is not reversed immediately, there will be serious consequences for the EU’s commitment, including its financial support,” warned the European Union’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.
With a GDP per capita of barely $600 in 2020, Sudan is among the world’s most impoverished countries and desperately in need of international financial aid. Following strong international condemnation, the coup leaders eventually released Hamdok and his wife from detention and allowed them to return home.
In late 2020, Sudan’s civilian government, led by Hamdok, accepted a U.S.-sponsored normalization agreement with Israel. It is currently unclear whether the coup in Sudan will somehow affect the bilateral ties between Sudan and Israel. However, the Sudanese military appears to be in favor of building stronger ties with Washington. Since the U.S. linked the U.S.-Sudan alliance to official Sudan-Israel ties, it is unlikely that the Sudanese military would turn its back on the normalization agreement with the Jewish state.
In early October, a Sudanese security delegation reportedly visited Israel in secret. In January, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen became the first Israeli minister to make an official visit to Sudan. During his visit, Cohen met with the then Sudanese Defense Minister Yassin Ibrahim.