Sudan PM detained in military takeover

By Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

Updated 5:47 PM ET, Mon October 25, 2021
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10:59 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

White House "deeply alarmed" by military takeover in Sudan

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a briefing at the White House on October 21.
White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a briefing at the White House on October 21. (Susan Walsh/AP)

The White House said the Biden administration is “deeply alarmed” about the coup unfolding in Sudan.

“The United States is deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover of the transitional government. We reject the actions by the military and call for the immediate release of the prime minister and others who have been placed under house arrest,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Jean-Pierre called the actions in “stark opposition to the will of the Sudanese people” and reiterated calls for a “democratic transition in Sudan.”

She did not directly address a question as to whether President Biden had been briefed on the matter.

Where things stand in Sudan: As CNN has reported, the country's prime minister has been arrested in a military takeover and taken to an undisclosed location, a senior adviser said. A military officer dissolved Sudan's ruling council and transitional government, and declared a state of emergency across the country.

The coup has been condemned by the United Nations, and the US Embassy in Sudan is advising US citizens “to shelter in place and remain aware of their surroundings” following the coup.

10:00 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

US Embassy in Sudan advises US citizens to shelter in place following military takeover

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The US Embassy in Sudan is advising US citizens “to shelter in place and remain aware of their surroundings” following a coup in the country

In a security alert posted Monday, the Embassy said it “has received reports that armed forces are blocking certain areas in and around Khartoum” and “internet in Khartoum is non-functional.”

9:28 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

UN secretary general condemns ongoing military coup in Sudan and calls for release of officials

From CNN's Richard Roth

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres speaks in New York on September 20.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres speaks in New York on September 20. (Lev Radin/Sipa)

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres condemned the ongoing military coup in Sudan, and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials, he said in a tweet Monday

He said the UN would "continue to stand" with the people of the country.

“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan.”

9:54 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Sudan's prime minister was aware of the army's plans, aide says

From CNN’s Becky Anderson and Noon Salih

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during an interview in Khartoum, Sudan, on May 11.
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during an interview in Khartoum, Sudan, on May 11. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

An aide and office director of Sudan’s now-arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told CNN that the premier was aware of army plans and was under pressure to dissolve the government. 

The adviser, Adam al-Hireika, said that he visited Hamdok on Sunday evening where he discussed the current state-of-affairs. Hamdok had just met with army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who declared the coup on state-TV on Monday. 

“I say he was cautiously optimistic that there was an opening for agreement, but I think the military side wanted him to dissolve the government and he insisted on not unless there is a process and there is an agreement between political parties,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson.

“This morning, when I heard about what happened I went to the PM’s residence, he is my boss and friend. I went to his residence unfortunately he wasn’t there. His wife and him were taken to an unknown destination by soldiers,” he added. 

Burhan said in a statement that power-shared council and government were dissolved and declared a state of emergency after a balanced power-sharing agreement with the civilian component “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan.

“What, General Burhan mentions in his address, actually what most of a lot of it was agreed between the two parties, but as the PM stood very strongly against dissolving the government without a process. I think that was the biggest issue of contention,” Hireika said.

Hireika warned of a civil war in Sudan if there was a return to military rule. 

“Well, I think the bigger picture, a return to military rule will mean more civil war in Sudan and instability in the region as a result,” he added.

8:53 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Amnesty International calls on Sudan authorities "to respect human rights" following military takeover

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Amnesty International has urged the authorities in Sudan "to respect human rights" following the arrest of the country's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials in an apparent coup.

"We are concerned by the escalating tensions in Sudan following the reported arrest of the Prime Minister and other civilian leaders and the imposition of an internet shutdown," Amnesty International said in a post to Twitter on Monday.

Amnesty International "calls on the authorities in Sudan to respect human rights—including the right to life, right to freedom of association, expression and assembly, both offline and on the internet. The right to peaceful protest must be respected, now more than ever."

8:41 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

What we know about the military takeover

In this frame taken from video, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's armed forces, speaks during a televised address in Khartoum, Sudan, on October 25.
In this frame taken from video, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's armed forces, speaks during a televised address in Khartoum, Sudan, on October 25. (Sudan TV/AP)

In a military takeover on Monday morning, Sudan's armed forces dissolved a governing council that included civilians and detained the prime minister and other civilian officials, endangering the country's transition to democracy.

Here's what we know:

  • Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife and members of Sudan's cabinet were detained and taken to an undisclosed location.
  • General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's armed forces, dissolved the power-sharing Sovereign Council and transitional government, saying in a televised statement that an "independent and fair representative government" would assume power until one is elected in 2023. Burhan also announced a state of emergency across Sudan.
  • Several articles of the constitution were suspended and state governors were removed, Burhan said.
  • Those arrested by "joint military forces" include various civilian ministers of Sudan's transitional government and members of Sudan's sovereign council, the Information Ministry said. CNN could not independently verify the Information Ministry's claims, however family members said the Minister of Information was one of several senior officials detained.
  • Protesters who opposed the coup have taken to the streets in the capital Khartoum and have faced gunfire near the military's headquarters, according to the information ministry.

Read more here:

7:51 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

What led to the military takeover in Sudan

Protesters march on 60th Street in Khartoum, Sudan, on October 25, to denounce detentions by the military of members of Sudan's government.
Protesters march on 60th Street in Khartoum, Sudan, on October 25, to denounce detentions by the military of members of Sudan's government. (AFP/Getty Images)

Sudan’s military dissolved its power-sharing government and announced a state of emergency on Monday, after soldiers arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife and other senior civilian officials, throwing the country into the biggest crisis of its two-year-old democratic transition.

The military takeover comes after weeks of deepening political chaos in the country, where military and civilian groups have been sharing power in an uneasy alliance, dubbed the Sovereign Council, since the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

The triumphant mood that swept the nation after Bashir’s removal -- ending his brutal three-decade-long rule -- has soured, with tensions over power-sharing boiling over into protests and contributing to instability.

Tensions ratcheted up as politicians, including Hamdok, pushed for a full transition to civilian rule by November 17.

A failed coup attempt in late September, attributed to forces loyal to Bashir, further strained the already shaky coalition.

In the weeks since, military leaders have been demanding reforms to the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition and the replacement of the cabinet. Civilian leaders accused them of a power grab.

Throngs of Sudanese protesters took to the streets last Thursday to demand that the transition agreed after the 2019 pro-democracy movement be honored and an elected government be delivered to the people.

7:14 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

 Sudan's army chief: Power-sharing agreement "became a conflict"

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi 

Sudan’s head of the armed forces said the power-sharing agreement with civilian members of the country's transitional sovereign council “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan.

“This has caused the military, as the founding authority of the [transitional phase], and stemming from the national responsibility, to protect the safety and security of this country,” General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who headed up the council, said. 

“We felt an obligation as the military, the Rapid Support Forces and other security apparatus in the country to see the danger, and take steps to protect the advantages of December’s Revolution,” Burhan added.  

7:24 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

German Foreign Minister calls for attempted coup in Sudan to be stopped "immediately"

From CNN’s Nina Avramova in London

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 13.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 13. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for an immediate end to the attempted coup in Sudan, in a statement published Monday. 

"The reports about another attempted coup in Sudan are distressing, the attempt is to be clearly condemned," the statement reads.

"I call on everyone, who is responsible for security and state order in Sudan, to continue the peaceful political transition process towards a democracy in Sudan and to respect the will of the people. This attempted coup has to be stopped immediately.”