General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the highest military representative in Sudan, is holding the disempowered Prime Minister Hamduk in his residence. Hamduk had been brought to the residence for his own safety. Photo: Marwan Ali / AP / dpa
Hamduk had been taken to the residence for his own safety, Al-Burhan said during a speech on Tuesday. The Hamduk office then demanded the immediate release of the head of government on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Information. At the same time, Hamduk’s supporters announced that they would resist the coup with protests and civil disobedience.
The military took power on Monday in the East African country with around 44 million inhabitants. Al-Burhan announced the disempowerment of the civilian government and declared a state of emergency.
This was preceded by months of protests in which people called for political and economic reforms and the withdrawal of the military from the transitional government. In his first address, Al-Burhan justified the internationally criticized coup in which they wanted to avoid a civil war in the country. They have tried more than once to find a solution with the political forces. Again and again, the military has become the target of a civilian smear campaign. After the political dialogue failed, it was decided to take power, the military chief said. The goal is still to lead the country to a democratic order and to hand over power to an elected, civilian government.
Sudan was ruled by Omar al-Bashir for almost 30 years. The long-term ruler was driven out of office in April 2019 after months of mass protests and a military coup. As a result, the military and the civil opposition agreed on a joint transitional government that would pave the way for elections. Numerous reforms followed, which enabled the oil-rich but impoverished country to break free from decades of isolation.
The whereabouts of Hamduk, who had headed a transitional government together with Al-Burhan since August 2019, was initially unclear after the military came to power on Monday morning. His supporters spoke of kidnapping. Thereupon Germany, the USA and the United Nations, among others, demanded the immediate release of Hamduk. “He’s at my home,” said Al-Burhan. Accordingly, Hamduk should also have the right to move freely.
Al-Burhan promised to gradually restore access to the Internet. Internet and telephone have been working again since Tuesday evening. The mobile network has been working again since 4:00 p.m. local time (3:00 p.m. CEST), confirmed the British organization Netblocks, which documents Internet blocks worldwide.
Doctors and officials called for civil resistance. The Sudan’s Doctors Central Committee announced on Tuesday night on its Facebook page that they would withdraw from all hospitals in the country and only treat emergencies. The military hospitals will be completely withdrawn.
Employees in ministries, administration and the central bank announced a general strike that night. The professional association of the Sudanese ambassadors also distanced themselves from the coup plotters in a message. People were seen on social media burning tires in protest and loudly calling for a return to civil order. According to an eyewitness in the residential area of Riyadh, demonstrators have set up road blocks in and around the area.
After the military came to power, the UN Security Council wanted to deal with the situation on Tuesday afternoon (local time) in New York during an emergency meeting. The US has already suspended $ 700 million in aid that was earmarked to support Sudan’s democratic transition.
In May, international donors, including Germany, granted Sudan billions in debt relief to support the peaceful transition to democracy. However, the economic situation has not improved for many people: According to the United Nations, the prices of food and fuel have skyrocketed in recent months.