Sudan – After weeks of tension between the military and civilian transitional authorities in Sudan, unidentified gunmen arrested several Sudanese politicians at their homes early Monday, according to a government source. According to AFP journalists, the internet was shut down across the country, as people gathered in the streets to protest the arrests, setting fire to tires.
The incident occurs just two days after a Sudanese faction pushing for a civilian takeover of power warned of a “creeping coup” at a news conference that a throng of unidentified people attempted to halt. Since the departure of President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, Sudan has been witnessing a fragile transition marked by political divides and power conflicts. Since August 2019, the country has been governed by a civilian-military administration tasked with ensuring the country’s transition to an all-civilian government.
The major civilian coalition, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which led anti-Bashir demonstrations in 2019, has broken into two sections. “The current situation is contrived,” FFC head Yasser Arman stated at a press conference in Khartoum on Saturday. “We reaffirm our faith in Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok‘s government and in the reform of the transitional institutions, but without order or imposition,” Arman continued.
Tensions between the two factions have long existed, but they were heightened by the September 21 failed coup attempt. Thousands of Sudanese marched in many towns this week to support the full transfer of power to civilians and to oppose a competing multi-day sit-in outside the presidential palace in Khartoum, which demanded a return to “military dictatorship.”
Mr. Hamdok has already labeled the transitional government’s disagreements as the “most serious and grave crisis” it faces. Mr. Hamdok refuted allegations that he had consented to a cabinet reshuffle on Saturday, calling them “false.” “This is not correct. In addition, the Prime Minister “He made it clear that he did not have sole authority over the destiny of the transitional institutions. On Saturday, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman met with Hamdok, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the chairman of Sudan’s ruling council, and paramilitary leader Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
According to the US Embassy in Khartoum, “Mr. Feltman underlined US support for a civilian democratic transition in conformity with the clear demands of the Sudanese people.” According to analysts, recent huge demonstrations demonstrate strong support for a civilian-led democracy, but street protests may have minimal impact on powerful forces pressing for military rule to return.