Sudan coup: Military dissolves civilian government and arrests leaders

0
127
Protesters in Khartoum were chanting "no to military rule. -BBC

A coup is under way in Sudan, where the military has dissolved civilian rule, arrested political leaders and declared a state of emergency.

The coup leader, Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan, blamed political infighting.

Protests have erupted in several cities including the capital Khartoum. Three people are said to have died after being shot by the armed forces.

Military and civilian leaders have been at odds since long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown two years ago.

Large numbers of protesters are on the streets of the capital demanding the return of civilian rule, BBC Arabic’s Mohamed Osman reports from Khartoum.

More protesters are expected to join the crowds after calls for action by political parties and professional unions, our correspondent says. Doctors have refused to work at hospitals and institutions under military rule, except in emergencies, he adds.

One demonstrator, Sawsan Bashir, told AFP news agency: “We will not leave the streets until the civilian government is back and the transition is back.”

“We are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan,” fellow protester Haitham Mohamed said.

Army and paramilitary troops have been deployed across Khartoum, the city’s airport is closed and international flights are suspended. The internet is also down.

At least three people have been killed and 80 have been injured, the Sudan Central Doctor’s Committee wrote on its Facebook page. Those who died had been shot by soldiers, it said.

Video footage from Khartoum on Monday showed large groups in the streets, including many women. Barricades of burning tyres can be seen, with plumes of black smoke rising in various parts of the city.

“There is tension and also violence because people tried to go to the army headquarters… they were met with gunshots”, human rights defender Duaa Tariq told the BBC. She added there was fear and confusion in the streets, but also solidarity between the protesters.

World leaders have reacted with alarm to the military’s move.

Under arrest
Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and his wife are among those reported to have been detained and put under house arrest, along with members of his cabinet and other civilian leaders. Their whereabouts are unknown.

They are part of a transitional government designed to steer Sudan towards democracy after the rule of former president, Omar al-Bashir.

Mr Hamdok was reportedly being pressed to support the coup but was refusing to do so, and instead he urged people to continue with peaceful protests to “defend the revolution”.