‘Return to dialogue’: Intl community demands release of Sudan’s PM detained during military coup in wake of internal unrest

International parties have voiced their concern and condemnation after the Sudanese military staged a coup, arresting the prime minister as well as other senior civilian leaders and dissolving the government.

In a statement on Monday, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat demanded the release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials of the transitional government, and called on the Sudanese military to respect human rights. 

“The chairperson calls for the immediate resumption of consultations between civilians and military,” Mahamat said, adding that dialogue and consensus was the only path to “save the country and its democratic transition.”

Neighboring Egypt and regional power Saudi Arabia both called for restraint and demanded that all parties work for the welfare of the country.

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Protesters gather during what the information ministry calls a military coup in Khartoum, Sudan, October 25, 2021 © REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
Major Sudanese tribe plans to end port blockade in support of military coup, as doctors and academics go on strike against it

Britain, the former colonial ruler of Sudan, described the coup as “an unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people and their democratic transition.” Britain’s Africa minister, Vicky Ford, tweeted that those who did not respect the right to protest must be held to account – seemingly a reference to reports that demonstrators had been fired on by the military. Ford also demanded civilian leaders be released from their captivity.

“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,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell argued.

The US Embassy in Khartoum said it was “gravely concerned” by reports that the military had acted against the civilian government, and “condemned” actions that undermined the country’s transition to democracy.

Mirroring Western bodies, the UN also reiterated calls for the release of the prime minister. “All parties must immediately return to dialogue and engage in good faith to restore the constitutional order,” according to the organization’s special representative in Sudan, Volker Perthes.

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Sudanese protesters lift national flags as they rally on 60th Street in the capital Khartoum, to denounce overnight detentions by the army of government members, on October 25, 2021. © AFP
State of emergency declared in Sudan, government dissolved after military coup and PM arrest

Earlier on Monday, Sudan’s military detained Hamdok and other ministers in pre-dawn raids. Shortly after, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sovereign Council of military and civilian members that runs the country, declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government.

In recent days, there have been massive counter rallies in Sudan as people voiced their support for both the military and civilian leaders.

The Sovereign Council had been tasked with overseeing a four-year transition to democracy after long-time leader Omar al-Bashir was removed from power in 2019 in the wake of months of civil unrest and protests.

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