Sudan: protesters dare the military after coup
By Linda Bordoni
Life has come to a stand-still in the horn of Africa nation a day after the army seized power in a coup that triggered deadly violence.
The Information Ministry, one of the few government bodies still commenting on the situation, said Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his cabinet ministers are missing.
Shops are closed and loudspeakers are calling for a general strike. Roads are blocked either by soldiers or by barricades erected by protesters. Banks and cash machines are shut, and mobile phone apps, widely used for money transfers, cannot be accessed.
A health ministry official said seven people had been killed on Monday in clashes between protesters and the security forces after soldiers arrested the Prime Minister and other civilians in the cabinet.
The leader of the takeover, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on Tuesday, dissolved the military-civilian Sovereign Council that had been set up to guide Sudan to democracy following the overthrow of long-ruling President Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising two years ago.
He announced a state of emergency, saying the armed forces needed to protect safety and security, and he promised to hold elections in July 2023 and hand over to an elected civilian government then.
Hamdok, an economist and former senior U.N. official, was reportedly taken to an undisclosed location on Monday after refusing to issue a statement in support of the takeover.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, an activist coalition that played a major role in the uprising that toppled Bashir in 2019, has called for a strike.
Western governments have condemned the coup, called for the release of the detained civilian leaders, and threatened to cut off aid, which Sudan desperately needs to recover from an economic crisis.
Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, is still at large. Since he was ousted, the military has been sharing power with civilians under a transition meant to lead to democratic reform and elections.
But the collaboration has been fraught with tension and things spiraled last month when a failed coup plot, blamed on Bashir supporters, triggered recriminations between the military and civilian leaders.