CAIRO: Sudan’s military seized power on Monday, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested the acting prime minister and other officials. Thousands of people flooded into the streets to protest the coup that threatens the country’s shaky progress toward democracy.
The takeover comes more than two years after protesters forced the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and just weeks before the military was expected to hand the leadership of the council that runs the African country over to civilians.
As plumes of smoke filled the air, protesters could be heard chanting, “The people are stronger, stronger” and “Retreat is not an option!” Videos on social media showed large crowds crossing bridges over the Nile to the center of the capital. At least 12 protesters were wounded in demonstrations, according to the Sudanese Doctors Committee, which did not give details.
In the afternoon, the head of the military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, announced on national TV that he was dissolving the government and the Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body created four months after al-Bashir’s ouster to run the country.
Burhan said quarrels among political factions prompted the military to intervene. Tensions have been rising for weeks between civilian and military leaders over Sudan’s course and the pace of the transition to democracy. The general declared a state of emergency and said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023. But he made clear the military will remain in charge.
“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” he said. He added that the country’s constitution would be rewritten and a legislative body would be formed with the participation of “young men and women who made this revolution.”