Coup in Sudan? Military arrests civilian leaders, imposes internet blackout

Abdullah Hamdok

Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan's Prime Minister

The military in Sudan overnight carried out a mass arrest of civilian leaders and politicians, in what is suspected to be an internal coup.

Reports said armed men barged into the homes of ‘political and government leaders’ on Monday following weeks of tension between the army and civilian authorities.

The fate of the civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok is not clear, as armed men were also seen outside his home in Khartoum.

Photos circulating online showed men in uniform standing in the dark, near his home.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a group of trade unions that was central to the 2019 revolution that overthrew the country’s military leaders, described the arrests as a ‘coup’.

It urged people to launch a campaign of ‘civil disobedience’.

The AP reported that at least five senior Sudanese government figures have been detained.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association said there were internet and phone signal outages across the country.

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Monday’s arrests come after weeks of rising tensions between Sudan’s civilian and military leaders.

A failed coup attempt in September fractured the country along old lines, pitting more-conservative Islamists who want a military government against those who toppled al-Bashir more than two years ago in mass protests.

In recent days, both camps have taken to the street in demonstrations.

The arrests of the five government figures were confirmed by two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The officials said the detained government members include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, Information Minister Hamza Baloul, and Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, member of the country’s ruling transitional body, known as The Sovereign Council, and Faisal Mohammed Saleh, a media adviser to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Ayman Khalid, governor of the state containing the capital, Khartoum, was also arrested, according to the official Facebook page of his office.

The arrests followed meetings the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman had with Sudanese military and civilian leaders Saturday and Sunday in efforts to resolve the dispute.

Sudan’s state news website highlighted the meetings with military officials.