Sudan’s prime minister and other senior members of its transitional government have been arrested as part of a coup attempt by the military, the information ministry has said.
The ministry said “joint military forces” had arrested civilian members of the sovereign council and members of the government and had taken them to an undisclosed location. Prime Minster Abdalla Hamdok refused to issue a statement in support of a coup, it added.
There was no immediate comment from the military. Sudanese state TV broadcast as normal.
Sudan’s main pro-democratic political group, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, said at least five senior government officials had been detained, and called on people to take to the street to counter the apparent coup action. The group also reported internet and phone signal outages in the country.
A Reuters witness saw joint forces from the military and from the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces stationed in the streets in Khartoum.
Sudan has been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups who are meant to be sharing power following the ousting of former autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The coup attempt pitted more conservative Islamists who want a military government against those who toppled Bashir in mass protests. In recent days, both camps have taken to the street in demonstrations.
According to officials the detained figures included Hamdok, industry minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, the information minister, Hamza Baloul, a member of the ruling Sovereign Council, Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, and Faisal Mohammed Saleh, a media adviser to Hamdok.
Ayman Khalid, governor of the state containing the capital, Khartoum, was also arrested, according to the official Facebook page of his office.
Jeffrey Feltman, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa who met Sudanese military and civilian leaders over the weekend in efforts to resolve the growing dispute, said Washington was “deeply alarmed” by reports of the military takeover.
The SPA, a main activist coalition in the uprising against Bashir, called on supporters to mobilise after what it called the arrest of cabinet members. “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 in a statement on Facebook.
NetBlocks, a group which tracks disruptions across the internet, said on Monday it had seen a “significant disruption” to fixed-line and mobile internet connections across Sudan with multiple providers.
“Metrics corroborate user reports network disruptions appearing consistent with an internet shutdown,” the advocacy group said. “The disruption is likely to limit the free flow of information online and news coverage of incidents on the ground.”
With Associated Press and Reuters