By Faith Nyasuguta
On Monday, Sudanese soldiers arrested most members of Sudan’s cabinet in an apparent military coup.
Authorities also confirmed that three people had died and 80 others injured as “forces of the military council coup” opened fire to put down the furious demonstrations against the military, according to the independent Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.
According to three political sources, many pro-government party leaders were also nabbed, leaving a fragile transition towards democracy in jeopardy.
Without revealing its sources, Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Hadath TV said Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had been placed under house arrest.
Further, it said that military forces arrested four cabinet ministers, one civilian member of the ruling Sovereign Council, several state governors and party leaders.
At the time of this publication, there had been no immediate comment from Sudan’s troops.
The ministry of information said “joint military forces” had arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council, government members and took them to an undisclosed location.
According to a Reuters witness, joint forces from the military and from the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces were stationed in Khartoum’s streets.
Since a failed September coup that sparked bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups set to be sharing power following the 2019 ouster of ex-president Omar al-Bashir, Sudan has been on edge.
Bashir was overthrown and jailed after months of street protests. A political transition agreed upon after his ouster has seen Sudan emerge from its isolation under three decades of rule by Bashir and was meant to hold elections before 2024.
US Special diplomat Jeffrey Feltman said the United States was deeply worried about reports of a military takeover of the Sudanese transitional government.
Via Twitter, the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs via Feltman cautioned that a military takeover would contravene Sudan’s Constitutional Declaration, putting US assistance at risk.
The Reuters witness added that military and paramilitary forces deployed across the capital, Khartoum, barred civilians’ movements amid protesters carrying the national flag burnt tires in the country.
The information ministry via Facebook confirmed that a number of ministers and civilian members of the ruling Sovereign Council were arrested.
Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV channel said the Khartoum airport was shut and international flights dismissed.
Hamdok, an economist and former senior UN official who was appointed as a technocratic prime minister in 2019 is under house arrest.
Family sources told Reuters that military forces had stormed the house of Hamdok’s media adviser and arrested him.
Further witnesses indicated that internet services appeared to be down in Khartoum.
Following the arrest of Cabinet ministers, Sudanese Professionals Association, a main activist coalition in the uprising against Bashir, urged supporters to mobilise.
“We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them, close all roads with barricades, stage a general labour strike, and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them,” the group said via Facebook.
Days ago, political parties and rebel groups called on the military to take over the government.