Friday, December 3

Coup in Sudan: US condemns military takeover as protests rage overnight | Sudan


The United States has said it “strongly condemns” the leaders of Sudan’s military coup, as the United Nations planned an emergency meeting on the crisis amid growing international outcry over the attempted coup.

As street clashes between pro-democracy protesters and security forces left at least seven people dead, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the immediate return to civilian government and the release of the detained prime minister.

“The United States strongly condemns the actions of the Sudanese military forces,” it said in a statement, expressing grave concern over reports that the security forces used live ammunition against protesters.

“We strongly reject the dissolution of the civilian-led transitional government and its associated institutions and call for its immediate restoration,” said Blinken, whose government has suspended $ 700 million in aid to Sudan.

Tension has been mounting in Sudan since what the civilian government described as a failed coup attempt on September 21.

Sudan’s armed forces began the coup during Sunday night by detaining civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who have been spearheading the country’s transition to full civilian rule following the April 2019 overthrow of the Long-time autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir.

The military also declared a state of emergency and much of the Internet and mobile telephony networks were cut off immediately after the coup.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who had been head of Sudan’s “sovereign council” for the distribution of power, justified the seizure of power and the dissolution of the country’s transitional government by saying that internal struggles between the military and civil parties had threatened the stability of the country. The military was supposed to have passed the leadership of the joint sovereign council to a civilian figure in the next few months.

Pro-democracy protesters immediately took to the streets in protest after Burhan’s speech, blocking streets and setting tires on fire in the capital Khartoum and its sister city Omdurman.

They chanted “People are stronger, stronger” and “Retiring is not an option!” as they clashed with security forces, who used tear gas and live ammunition to try to disperse the crowd.

The Information Ministry said that the soldiers “fired live bullets at the protesters who were rejecting the military coup in front of the army headquarters.”

However, video shared on social media showed people fleeing the sound of gunfire and a man being treated for what appeared to be a gunshot wound.

Among the crowd converging in the center of Khartoum was Ahmed Osman, who claimed to be a relative of one of the detained ministers.

“I have been on the street since 2 in the morning when I learned of the disappearance of the minister. We don’t know where they took him. It has always been a target of Islamists, ”said the young man, who had wrapped himself in the Sudanese flag. “It is our country, right? We have to reject what is happening ”.

At least seven people died, according to a statement from the Health Ministry late Monday.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that the detention of civilian leaders was “illegal” and condemned “the ongoing military coup.”

The UN demanded the “immediate release” of the Sudanese prime minister and diplomats in New York said Monday night that the security council was expected to meet to discuss the crisis on Tuesday.

The European Union, the African Union and the Arab League also expressed concern.

Jonas Horner of think tank International Crisis Group called it an “existential moment for both parties … This kind of intervention … really puts autocracy back on the menu.”

Hamdok had previously described the splits in the transitional government as the “worst and most dangerous crisis” facing the transition.

Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for three decades, is in prison in Khartoum following a conviction for corruption. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide for the civil war in Darfur.

But the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, warned that Sudan is at risk of reverting to oppression.

“It would be disastrous if Sudan backs down after finally ending decades of repressive dictatorship,” Bachelet said.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.


www.theguardian.com

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