Sudanese military release detained Abdalla Hamdok but remains under 'heavy surveillance'

Abdalla Hamdok and his wife were under 'heavy security' at their home in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, according to his office [File: Hannibal Hanschke/ Reuters]

According to his office, Sudan's deposed prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, has been permitted to return home a day after the country's military held him after seizing power in a coup.

Following international condemnation of General Abdel Fattah al-power Burhan's grab, Hamdok and his wife were released on Tuesday. The US had vowed to halt help, while the European Union had also threatened to do so.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, had also sought Hamdok's immediate release as part of a plea for international leaders to band together to combat what he called a recent "epidemic of coups d'etat."

The deposed prime minister and his wife were under "heavy security" at their residence in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, according to Hamdok's office, and other civilian officials seized on the day of the coup remained in jail with their whereabouts unknown.

The coup came after weeks of rising tensions between military and civilian leaders over Sudan's democratic transition direction and speed. Al- Burhan was due to give over control of the country's Sovereign Council to a civilian next month, weakening the military's grip on power.

However, the coup threatens to undermine Sudan's transitional process, stalled since longstanding leader Omar al-Bashir was deposed in a popular revolt two years ago.

Pro-democracy protesters took to the streets again on Tuesday, blocking roadways in the city with homemade barricades and burning tires. According to medics, troops had shot on crowds the day before, killing four protestors.

'Coup Epidemic'

Earlier in the day, al-Burhan appeared for the second time since the coup, claiming that the military was forced to intervene to avoid civil strife.

The general stated that Hamdok had been held at his home for his safety and would be freed.

However, al-Burhan claimed that some of the many other high government officials held Monday tried to instigate an insurrection within the military forces and that they would face justice. Others who are proven to be "innocent" would be released, he said.

The Security Council met behind closed doors at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss Sudan, but no action was taken. Despite Guterres' plea for the international community to work together to stop "this epidemic of coups d'etats," Coups in Myanmar, Mali, and Guinea, as well as attempted coups in several other nations, had preceded the military takeover in Sudan.

Strong geopolitical divisions among Security Council members, as well as the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Guterres, have created "an environment in which some military leaders feel they have total impunity, that they can do whatever they want because nothing will happen to them."

The council has previously issued comments expressing concern about Myanmar's situation and denouncing Mali's military coup. Diplomats said the group is still debating a possible statement on Sudan.

Before the meeting, Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said the council "should appeal to all sides to stop the violence." "I don't think it's our job to label such situations coup or not coup," he added.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Hamdok after his release from jail, according to the US Department of State.

He also urged the Sudanese military to free all detained civilian leaders, emphasizing that the US supports a civilian-led democratic transition in Sudan.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have both condemned the coup.

Washington has already indicated that it will halt $700 million in emergency help to Sudan and that it is considering sending more vital messages to the country's generals.

Blinken also spoke with his colleague in Saudi Arabia, a prominent actor in Sudan, on Tuesday, according to the State Department.

According to the statement, Blinken and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhad Al Saud "condemned the military takeover in Sudan on October 25 and its effects on the stability of Sudan and the region."

In 2019, Sudan saw a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, and there are fears that security forces would use force against civilians once more. On Saturday, protesters plan a big march to demand the return of civilian authority, which will be a crucial test of the military's response to resistance to its rule.

According to the Sudanese Professionals ' Association, people should go on strike and act in civil disobedience, a network of unions that was behind the revolt against al-Bashir. Separately, the country's major rebel group, the Sudan Popular Liberation Movement-North, blasted the coup and urged people to take to the streets.

The Justice and Equality Movement blamed the overthrown government for the military takeover, demonstrating the divides among Sudanese civilian leaders. According to the report, a small group of officials monopolized decision-making and refused to participate in the discourse.

The group, led by Finance Minister Gibreil Ibrahim, is the first to publicly express support for the military. Still, it also called for the military to terminate the state of emergency, release the detainees, and create a civilian administration to handle day-to-day operations. The group took part in a pro-military sit-in in Khartoum earlier this month.

Sudan's future has been signaled in a variety of ways by the military.

Al-Burhan promised to progressively restore internet and communications services that had been affected due to the coup. However, the Civil Aviation Authority announced that all flights to and from Khartoum's airport will be suspended until October 30.

Publish : 2021-10-27 11:37:00

Give Your Comments