KHARTOUM: Soldiers arrested most of the members of Sudan’s cabinet and a large number of pro-government party leaders on Monday (today) in an apparent military coup, three political sources said, throwing a fragile transition towards democracy into disarray.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was detained and moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, the information ministry said.
Joint military forces holding Hamdok under house arrest were pressuring him to issue a supportive statement, it said.
There was no immediate comment from the military.
The coup happened in spite of an agreement Hamdok had reached with the head of a ruling council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in the presence of US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman, he added, according to the Dubai-based channel.
The information ministry said military forces had also arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and members of the government.
A news agency journalist saw joint forces from the military and from the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces stationed in the streets in Khartoum.
The military was meant to pass leadership of the joint Sovereign Council to a civilian figure in the coming months.
But the timing of the handover had been left unclear, as transitional authorities struggled to move forward on key issues including whether to hand Bashir over to the International Criminal Court.
In recent weeks, civilian officials had claimed credit for some tentative signs of economic stabilisation after a sharp devaluation of the currency and the lifting of fuel subsidies.
Feltman, who was visiting Sudan on Saturday and Sunday, said the United States was deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover of the transitional government in Sudan.
On the official Twitter of the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs, Feltman warned that a military takeover would contravene Sudan’s Constitutional Declaration and puts at risk US assistance.
Military forces stormed Sudanese Radio and Television headquarters in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital Khartoum, and arrested employees, the information ministry said on its Facebook page.
Two major political parties, the Umma and the Sudanese Congress, condemned what they said was a coup and the campaign of arrests.
The media outlet said military and paramilitary forces deployed across the capital, Khartoum, restricting civilians’ movements, as protesters carrying the national flag burnt tires in different parts of the city.
Khartoum airport was shut and international flights were suspended, according to Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV channel.