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General Dissolves Sudan Gov't in Coup  10/25 06:12

   Sudan's top general on Monday dissolved the government and announced that 
the military will run the country after his forces arrested the acting prime 
minister and other officials. Thousands of Sudanese protested in the streets 
against the coup.

   CAIRO (AP) -- Sudan's top general on Monday dissolved the government and 
announced that the military will run the country after his forces arrested the 
acting prime minister and other officials. Thousands of Sudanese protested in 
the streets against the coup.

   The military takeover threatens to derail Sudan's long, rocky attempt to 
transition to democracy two years after protesters forced the ouster of 
longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir. The move came just before the military was 
supposed to hand leadership of the country's joint military-civilian 
administration to civilians next month.

   After the early morning arrests of government officials, thousands flooded 
the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman to protest. 
Footage shared online appeared to show protesters blocking streets and setting 
fire to tires as security forces used tear gas to disperse them.

   Protesters could be heard chanting, "The people are stronger, stronger" and 
"Retreat is not an option!" as plumes of smoke filled the air. Videos on social 
media showed large crowds crossing bridges over the Nile to the center of the 
capital.

   At least 12 protesters were wounded in demonstrations, according to the 
Sudanese Doctors Committee, without giving details.

   In the afternoon, the head of the military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, went 
on national TV and announced that he was dissolving the government and the 
Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body created to run the 
country since al-Bashir's ouster.

   He said quarrels among political factions prompted the military to intervene.

   Burhan declared a state of emergency and said the military will appoint a 
technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023. 
But he made clear the military will remain in charge, saying, "The Armed Forces 
will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the 
country's leadership to a civilian, elected government."

   The Information Ministry, still loyal to the dissolved government, called 
his speech an "announcement of a seizure of power by military coup."

   The United States and the European Union expressed concern over Monday's 
developments.

   Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa, said 
Washington was "deeply alarmed" by the reports. Feltman met with Sudanese 
officials over the weekend in an effort to resolve the growing dispute between 
civilian and military leaders. EU foreign affairs chief Joseph Borrell tweeted 
that he's following events with the "utmost concern."

   The first reports about a possible military takeover began trickling out of 
Sudan before dawn Monday. By mid-morning, the Information Ministry confirmed 
that the prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, had been arrested and taken to an 
undisclosed location. Several senior government figures were also detained, the 
ministry said in a Facebook post. It said their whereabouts were unknown.

   Hamdok's office said in a statement on Facebook that he and his wife were 
detained early Monday as part of what it described as a "complete coup."

   Internet access was widely disrupted and the country's state news channel 
played patriotic traditional music. At one point, military forces stormed the 
offices of Sudan's state-run television in Omdurman and detained a number of 
workers, the Information Ministry said.

   Tensions have been rising for weeks between Sudan's civilian and military 
leadership over Sudan's course and the pace of the transition to democracy.

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

   After the September coup attempt, the generals lashed out at civilian 
members of the transitional power structure and called for the dissolution of 
Hamdok's government. The Sovereign Council is the ultimate decision maker, 
though the Hamdok government is tasked with running Sudan's day-to-day affairs.

   Burhan, who leads the council, warned in televised comments last month that 
the military would hand over power only to a government elected by the Sudanese 
people.

   His comments suggested he might not stick to the previously agreed 
timetable, which called for the council to be led by a military figure for 21 
months, followed by a civilian for the following 18 months. Under that plan, 
the handover was to take place sometime in November, with the new civilian 
leader to be chosen by an alliance of unions and political parties that led the 
uprising against al-Bashir.

   Since al-Bashir was forced from power, Sudan had slowly emerged from years 
of international pariah status. The country was removed from the United States' 
state supporter of terror list in 2020, opening the door for badly needed 
foreign loans and investment. But the country's economy has struggled with the 
shock of a number economic reforms called for by international lending 
institutions.

   Sudan has suffered other coups since it gained its independence from Britain 
and Egypt in 1956. Al-Bashir came to power in 1989 in one such takeover, which 
removed the country's last elected government.

   Among those detained Monday were five senior government figures, according 
to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not 
authorized to share information with the media.

   They include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, Information Minister Hamza 
Baloul, and Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, a member of the Sovereign Council, as 
well as Faisal Mohammed Saleh, a media adviser to Hamdok. Ayman Khalid, 
governor of the state containing the capital, was also arrested, according to 
the official Facebook page of his office.

   After news of the arrests spread, the country's main pro-democracy group and 
two political parties issued appeals to the Sudanese to take to the streets.

   One of the factions, the Communist Party called on workers to go on strike 
in an act of mass civil disobedience after what it described as a "full 
military coup" orchestrated by Burhan.

   The African Union has called for the release of all Sudanese political 
leaders including Hamdok. "Dialogue and consensus is the only relevant path to 
save the country and its democratic transition," said Moussa Faki, the head of 
the AU commission.

 
 
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