Sudan PM detained in military takeover

By Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

Updated 5:47 PM ET, Mon October 25, 2021
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5:23 p.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Sudan's prime minister is "still the legitimate transitional authority,” Information Ministry says

From CNN’s Ruba Alhenawi in Atlanta.

Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok chairs an emergency cabinet session in the capital of Khartoum last week.
Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok chairs an emergency cabinet session in the capital of Khartoum last week. (AFP/Getty Images)

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok “is still the legitimate transitional authority in the country” the Ministry of Information said in a statement posted on its Facebook page late Monday. The Ministry also claimed the prime minister was “kidnapped” along with a number of his ministers.  

Sudan's military dissolved its power-sharing government and declared a state of emergency Monday, catapulting the country into its biggest political crisis in its two-year-old transition.

The coup comes after months of rising tensions in the country, where military and civilian groups have shared power in a shaky transitional coalition, called the Sovereign Council, since former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted from power in 2019.

The Ministry of Information statement late Monday added that the transitional constitution gives only the prime minister the right to declare a state of emergency and that the military's actions are a crime punishable by law. 

The ministry statement added the government welcomed the positions taken by the United Nations secretary-general, the African Union, and the Arab League against a military coup in Sudan.

Last week, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said a full transition to civilian rule should be in place in Sudan by Nov. 17, echoing the voices of thousands of Sudanese protesters who took to the streets to demand that the promise of Sudan's pro-democracy movement be honored. But on Monday the prime minister and multiple government ministers and officials were arrested. 

4:49 p.m. ET, October 25, 2021

US pausing $700 million in emergency assistance to Sudan following military takeover

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks at a briefing on Monday.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks at a briefing on Monday.

The United States is pausing $700 million in emergency assistance to Sudan in the wake of a military takeover in the country, State Department spokesperson Ned Price announced Monday.

“The United States condemns the actions taken overnight by Sudanese military forces. The arrest of civilian government officials and other political leaders including Prime Minister Hamdok undermines the country’s transition to democratic civilian rule. The civilian-led transitional government should be immediately restored,” Price said at a news briefing.

“In light of these developments, the United States is pausing assistance from the $700 million in emergency assistance appropriations of economic support funds for Sudan. Those funds were intended to support the country’s democratic transition as we evaluate the next step for Sudan programming,” he said.

“Our entire relationship with this entity in Sudan will be evaluated in light of what has transpired, unless Sudan is returned to the transitional path,” Price added.

Price said the US recognizes “the legitimate grievances about the pace of the transition, but Sovereign Council Chair Burhan’s dismissal of government officials and dissolution of government institutions both violates Sudan’s constitutional declaration and abandon the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people.”

Price said that the US would typically undertake a coup determination – an official designation has implications for aid – but noted that Sudan has been subject to military coup restrictions since the 1989 coup. 

The spokesperson said the US was not given a heads up about the military takeover. Jeffery Feltman, special envoy for the Horn of Africa, was just in Khartoum on Saturday and met jointly with Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti.

Price said the State Department has not been in touch with Hamdok since his arrest.

“We have been in close touch with partners and allies, both in the region and well beyond,” Price said. “We are very closely coordinating our messaging, our approach, our actions vis a vis what we've seen transpire in Sudan over the last 16 hours or so.”

“And if it would be constructive for us to be in touch with actors, including elements of the military in Sudan, we would do that, but I'm not going to read out any of those overtures or diplomatic conversations,” he said.

2:13 p.m. ET, October 25, 2021

There were warnings that a coup could happen, UN Sudan coordinator says 

From CNN's Richard Roth

The United Nations coordinator in Sudan, Volker Perthes, said there were warnings that a coup could happen.

Speaking during a virtual meeting with UN reporters in New York, Perthes stated that military leaders increased their criticism of the civilian part of the power-sharing government in recent weeks blasting “party politicians.” 

Perthes told reporters he discussed the military takeover with a military leader Sunday who promised a dialogue would be favorable, however, the coup is underway. 

He called on the military rulers to release prisoners and use restraint and he stressed the UN could offer mediation, though he noted the UN is not a “stick-wielding association. 

Perthes told reporters that he can see barricades burning and can hear occasional gunshots outside of his window from Khartoum.  

Perthes also added that UN staff feels comfortable during the coup and the situation is between Sudanese stakeholders, not the international community.

12:40 p.m. ET, October 25, 2021

US Embassy in Khartoum urges Sudanese military to release detained officials and cease violence

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The US Embassy in Khartoum called on the Sudanese military “to immediately cease violence, release detained officials, and ensure the safety of Sudanese citizens demonstrating for democratic and civilian leadership.”

“The U.S. Embassy condemns the forced removal of the civilian government by Sudan's armed forces, and their actions to undermine the country's democratic transition,” the embassy said on Twitter Monday following a coup in the country.

Sudan's military dissolved its power-sharing government and declared a state of emergency Monday, catapulting the country into its biggest political crisis in its two-year-old transition.

11:47 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

EU's top diplomat condemns Sudan coup and calls it a "betrayal of the revolution"

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, speaks to the media at a summit in Brussels, Belgium, on October 21.
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, speaks to the media at a summit in Brussels, Belgium, on October 21. (Olivier Hoslet/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief has condemned the coup in Sudan, calling it a “betrayal of the revolution,” he said in a statement on Monday.

“The EU condemns the detention of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other members of the civilian leadership by Sudan’s military forces. We call on the security forces to immediately release those they have unlawfully detained,” Josep Borrell said. “The actions of the military represent a betrayal of the revolution, the transition, and the legitimate requests of the Sudanese people for peace, justice and economic development.”

“The right of peaceful protest must be respected; violence and bloodshed must be avoided at all cost; we also urge communication networks to be open,” he added.

Borrell went on to say the European Union would continue to support those who are working for “a democratic Sudan with a fully legitimate civilian government ensuring peace, freedom and justice for the Sudanese people.”

“This remains the best guarantee for the long-term stability of the country and the broader regions,” he added.

11:08 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Sudan protesters announce civil disobedience and strike following military takeover 

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem, Celine AlKhaldi and Kareem Khadder

Sudan’s supporters of the civilian competent of the now-dissolved Sovereign Council have announced civil disobedience and a strike in response to the military takeover, the Ministry of Information said on Facebook.  

“Employees of federal & state ministries and civil service institutions announce a strike until power is handed over to civilians,” the Ministry of Information, which is supportive of the civil state, said.

The Sudanese Professional Association [SPA], a body that helped organize the 2019 Sudan uprising, denounced the military takeover and denounced an earlier announcement by the army chief, Abdelfattah Al Burhan, where he declared a state of emergency, dissolved the Sovereign Council and government. 

“[Al Burhan’s] reckless decisions will increase the ferocity of the resistance and the unity of the street, after all illusions of partnership are removed and the fig leaf has fallen,” a statement by the SPA said.

“Let us make disobedience a response to al-Burhan’s nonsense, and to break the state of emergency today with crowds and activities,” the statement said.

10:36 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Sudan coup is an "unacceptable betrayal of Sudanese people," UK government says

From CNN's Allegra Goodwin

The United Kingdom has called the coup in Sudan an “unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people,” the British government’s Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, tweeted on Monday.

“Today’s military coup in Sudan is an unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people and their democratic transition,” Ford said. 

Ford added security forces must release Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who has been taken to an undisclosed location along with other civilian leaders. 

“Those who do not respect right to protest without fear of violence will be held to account,” Ford warned.  
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.”