The transitional government of Sudan has been dissolved by the military and the civilian leaders have been arrested in a move that bears all the hallmarks of a military coup. The US and other world powers have near-universally condemned the coup in a rare agreement between the UN, Washington, Moscow, Brussels, and Beijing.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who had previously been heading a joint ruling council with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok blamed partisan in-fighting as he declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government on October 24th. SaharaReporters wrote, “He said in his televised address that infighting between politicians, ambition and incitement to violence had forced him to act to protect the safety of the nation and to “rectify the revolution’s course”. He said Sudan was still committed to “international accords” and the transition to civilian rule, with elections planned for July 2023.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 26, 2021
Protesters have taken to the streets demanding Hamdok be released and the transitional government be reinstated.
Sudan’s Prime Minister arrested in a military coup as violent street protests erupt pic.twitter.com/eesrTI6X6H
— The Sun (@TheSun) October 25, 2021
The US, Chinese, And Russian Governments React to Military Overthrow of Civilian Leaders
According to Newsweek, The US State Department spoke out almost immediately upon reports of the takeover.
“The U.S. embassy is gravely concerned by reports that the armed forces have taken action against Sudan’s civilian government, and condemns actions that are undermining Sudan’s democratic transition,” the embassy said in a statement. “We call on all actors who are disrupting Sudan’s transition to stand down, and allow the civilian-led transitional government to continue its important work to achieve the goals of the revolution.”
Even China has made calls for peace and diplomacy which makes sense given the massive investment Beijing has been pumping into the region, hoping to buy and build rather than take more aggressive action.
“China is following the latest developments in Sudan, and calls on relevant parties in Sudan to resolve differences through dialogue and maintain national peace and stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters. “At present, the Chinese embassy is operating normally.”
The Russian government though gave a similar statement but stopped just short of condemning the coup,
“We proceed from the fact that such a development of events in Sudan has become evidence of an acute systemic crisis that has engulfed all areas of the country’s political and economic life,” the statement said. “This is a natural result of a failed policy that has been pursued over the past two years. The despair and plight of the vast majority of the population were virtually ignored by the transitional authorities and their foreign patrons and advisers.”
The Russian statement then went on to lay the blame not upon General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who has led the military in the action, but on ‘foreign interference’.
“Large-scale foreign interference in the internal affairs of the republic in practice led to the loss of confidence in the transitional authorities by Sudanese citizens,” the ministry said, “which repeatedly resulted in numerous protests and provoked general instability in the country, including the actual isolation of a number of its regions.”
A Little Background On The Situation in Sudan
The central African nation of Sudan, lying south of Egypt, has been struggling to reform itself into a representative government following the civil war that saw the secession of South Sudan in 2017 and the 2019 revolution against Omar al-Bashir, who had led the nation as a dictator since his own coup-de-tat in 1989. Bashir who transformed the nation into a state sponsor of terrorism that welcomed Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s and cultivated relationships with radical Islamist fundamentalists like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Hamas, was overthrown by the military and replaced with “Transitional Sovereign Council” led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.
Differences of opinion on working with Western nations versus Russian or Chinese interests as well as whether or not to hand former leader Omar al-Bashir to the World Court to stand trial for war crimes had stymied the formation of a new government for two years.
According to reports as of this writing Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has been allowed to return to his home, but the Military under General al-Burhan remains in control of the country. However, reports are fragmentary due to the internet connectivity, already limited in the impoverished, war-torn nation, being cut off by the military.