Seven dead and 140 injured in protests against military coup in Sudan

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  • Ministry of Information, activists call for resistance to coup
  • Group of doctors: three dead, 80 injured during demonstrations
  • US suspends $ 700 million in economic aid

KHARTOUM, October 25 (Reuters) – The Sudanese army seized power of a transitional government on Monday and a health ministry official said seven people were shot dead and 140 injured in clashes between soldiers and street protesters.

The leader of the takeover, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, dissolved the Sovereign Military-Civilian Council that was created to guide the country towards democracy after the overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in of a popular uprising two years ago.

Burhan announced the state of emergency, saying the armed forces must protect safety and security. He promised to hold elections in July 2023 and then hand over to an elected civilian government.

“What the country is going through now is a real threat and danger to the dreams of the youth and the hopes of the nation,” he said.

The Sudanese Ministry of Information, still loyal to ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, said on its Facebook page that the transitional constitution only gives the prime minister the right to declare a state of emergency and that the actions of the army is a crime. Hamdok is still the legitimate transitional authority, he said.

The UN Security Council was likely to discuss Sudan behind closed doors on Tuesday, diplomats said.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said: “We reject the actions of the army and call for the immediate release of the Prime Minister and other people under house arrest.”

Young people opposed to the coup have barricaded the streets and clashed with the troops. The main opposition coalition, Forces of Freedom and Change, which pushed for Bashir’s impeachment and negotiated the military-civilian council, said on Twitter it called for peaceful actions on the streets to reverse the takeover military, including demonstrations, blockades and civil disobedience.

Hamdok, an economist and former senior UN official, was arrested and taken to an undisclosed location after refusing to release a statement in favor of the takeover, the information ministry said.

The ministry called for resistance and said tens of thousands of people opposed to the takeover took to the streets and came under gunfire near the military headquarters in Khartoum. Central bank employees have announced a strike to reject the coup, the ministry said.

The troops arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and government figures, the ministry said. The state television news director was also detained, his family said.

The US State Department has said Washington has no say in the fate and condition of Hamdok. A spokesperson for the department said it was suspending $ 700 million in economic support to Sudan.

In Khartoum’s twin city, Omdurman, protesters barricaded the streets and chanted in favor of civilian rule.

People gather as smoke and fire are seen on the streets of Kartoum, Sudan, amid reports of a coup on October 25, 2021, in this still from video obtained through social networks. RASD SUDAN NETWORK via REUTERS

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“Burhan cannot go wrong. This is a military coup,” said a young man who gave his name as Saleh.

“RAISE OUR VOICES”

Sudan has been ruled for most of its postcolonial history by military leaders who have seized power through coups. He had become an outcast of the West and was on the list of American terrorists under Bashir, who took in Osama bin Laden in the 1990s and is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes.

The country had been on edge since last month when a failed coup plot blamed on Bashir supporters sparked recriminations between the military and civilians. Read more

In recent weeks, a coalition of rebel groups and political parties has aligned with the military and called on it to dissolve the civilian government, while cabinet ministers have participated in protests against the prospect of military rule. .

Sudan is also in economic crisis. Aided by foreign aid, civilian officials claimed some tentative signs of stabilization after a sharp devaluation of the currency and the lifting of fuel subsidies.

Washington had tried to prevent the collapse of the power-sharing agreement by sending a special envoy, Jeffrey Feltman. Hamdok’s office manager Adam Hereika told Reuters that the military had mounted the takeover despite “positive moves” towards a deal after meetings with Feltman in recent days.

The army was supposed to hand over the leadership of the Sovereign Council to a civilian figure in the months to come. But the transitional authorities had struggled to move forward on issues such as the surrender of Bashir to The Hague.

Burhan said it was incumbent on the armed forces to act to end the “incitement to chaos and violence”.

The United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union have all expressed concern. Political leaders must be released and human rights respected, AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a statement.

Britain called the coup an unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people. France called for the immediate release of Hamdok and other civilian leaders. Egypt called on all parties to show restraint.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a militant coalition in the uprising against Bashir, has called a strike.

Two main political parties, the Umma and the Sudanese Congress, condemned what they called a coup and a campaign of arrests.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Nafisa Eltahir, Moataz Abdelazim, Enas Alashray, Nadine Awadalla, Daniel Moshashai, Patricia Zengerle, Nandita Bose, Trevor Hunnicutt and Doina Chiacu; Written by Aidan Lewis, Michael Georgy; Editing by Peter Graff, Angus MacSwan and Grant McCool

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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