Government Officials Arrested, Internet Cut Off, and Airports Closed

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is under house arrest in what appears to be a military coup, according to local TV reports.

Citing family sources, news agencies Reuters reported that military forces raided the prime minister’s residence Monday morning. Four cabinet ministers and a civilian member of the ruling sovereign council were also arrested, Al-Hadath TV reported.

Party leaders and other government officials have been detained while the internet in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, was disrupted, according to journalists and activists on the ground. Sudan’s international airport has been closed, according to the report.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an organization made up of trade unions that played a role in organizing the protests, called on the public Monday to take to the streets to protect the transitional government.

“This is a major blow to the democratic experiment in Sudan,” said Cameron Hudson, scholar at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, Sudan expert and former director of Africa at the White House.

The blatant coup attempt came a day after Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman concluded two days of meetings in Sudan to underscore America’s support for Sudanese democracy.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s Ministry of Information said Monday that interim Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok who is under house arrest was forced to release a message supporting the military coup.

The news comes as America expresses concern about the latest developments in the country, which has been on its way to democracy more than two years after former autocrat Omar al-Bashir was ousted from power.

US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said Washington was “deeply concerned” by reports of the military coup. The European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell tweeted that he was following events in the north-eastern African nation with “full concern”. [ka/ab]

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