Soldiers arrested most of the members of Sudan’s cabinet and a large number of pro-government party leaders on Monday in an apparent military coup, three political sources said.
The information ministry said “joint military forces” had arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and members of the government and had taken them to an undisclosed location.
There was no immediate comment from the military. Sudanese state television broadcast as normal.
A Reuters witness saw joint forces from the military and from the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces stationed in the streets in the capital, Khartoum.
Sudan has been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups meant to be sharing power following the 2019 ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir.
Bashir was toppled and jailed after months of street protests. A political transition agreed after his ouster has seen Sudan emerge from its isolation under three decades of rule by Bashir and was meant to lead to elections by the end of 2023.
The Reuters witness said military and paramilitary forces deployed across Khartoum, restricting civilians’ movements, as protesters carrying the national flag burned tyres in different parts of the city.
The information ministry said on its Facebook page that a number of ministers and civilian members of the ruling Sovereign Council were arrested.
Khartoum airport was shut and international flights were suspended, according to Dubai-based al-Arabiya television channel.
Citing unidentified sources, Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Hadath said prime minister Abdalla Hamdok had been placed under house arrest, and that unidentified military forces arrested four cabinet ministers, one civilian member of the Sovereign Council and several state governors and party leaders.
Family sources told Reuters that military forces had stormed the house of Mr Hamdok’s media adviser and arrested him.
Reuters witnesses said internet services appeared to be down in Khartoum.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, a main activist coalition in the uprising against Bashir, called on supporters to mobilise after what it called the arrest of cabinet members.
“We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them, close all roads with barricades, stage a general labour strike, and not to co-operate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them,” the group said in a statement on Facebook.
As tensions built this month, a coalition of rebel groups and political parties aligned themselves with the military and called on it to dissolve the civilian government, staging a sit-in outside the presidential palace.
Last week, several cabinet ministers took part in big protests in several parts of Khartoum and other cities against the prospect of military rule.
The military head of the Sovereign Council has previously asserted his commitment to the transition. – Reuters