Sudan’s PM Hamdok under house arrest, ministers detained

Oct 25, 2021: A number of Sudanese cabinet members and a large number of pro-government party leaders were arrested Monday in a clear uprising after weeks of tensions between the military and a civilian government, three political sources said.

A Reuters news agency eyewitness reported that Sudanese army and paramilitary forces restricted the movement of civilians in the capital, Khartoum, while protesters carrying national flags burned tires in various parts of the city.

According to Al-Hadit TV, Sudanese troops have placed Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok under house arrest and detained several members of the country’s civilian leadership. Citing unnamed sources, the Saudi-owned broadcaster said a military force surrounded the prime minister’s house on Monday morning before he was placed under house arrest.

Other civilian officials taken into custody include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, and the governor of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, Ayman Khalid, family sources told Al Jazeera.

Information Minister Hamza Baloul, media adviser to the prime minister, Faisal Mohammed Saleh, and the spokesman for Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, were also arrested, according to officials who spoke to the Associated Press news agency.

According to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV channel, Khartoum airport was closed and international flights were suspended. There was no immediate comment from the military. Sudanese state TV broadcasts as usual. Sudan has been moving forward since a failed coup plot last month that sought to share power between military and civilian groups following the ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

After months of street protests, Bashir was ousted and sent to prison. A political transition was agreed upon when his ouster saw Sudan emerge from its isolation under Bashir’s three decades of rule, with elections aimed at holding elections by the end of 2023.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a key coalition active in the uprising against Bashir, called on supporters to mobilize after the arrest of cabinet members.

Last week, tens of thousands of Sudanese marched in several cities in support of a full transfer of power, and staged a sit-in outside the presidential palace in Khartoum for days demanding the return of “military rule”.

Hamdok has previously described the split in the interim government as the “worst and most dangerous crisis” facing Sudan’s transition.

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