Daily Camera (Boulder)

Prime minister, detained after coup, returns home

- By Samy Magdy

CAIRO — Sudan’s deposed prime minister and his wife were allowed to return home Tuesday, a day after they were detained when the military seized power in a coup, according to a statement issued by his office.

The release of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and his wife followed internatio­nal condemnati­on of the coup and calls for the military to release all the government officials who were detained when Gen. Abdel-fattah Burhan seized power on Monday.

The statement by Hamdok’s office said other government officials remained in detention, their locations unknown. The deposed prime minister and his wife were under “heavy security” at home in the upscale Kafouri neighborho­od of the capital Khartoum, said a military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media. The official did not say whether they were free to leave or make calls.

Earlier in the day, Burhan said Hamdok had been held for his own safety and would be released. But he warned that other members of the dissolved government could face trial as protests against the putsch continued in the streets.

The military seized power in a move that was widely denounced abroad. On Tuesday, pro-democracy demonstrat­ors blocked roads in the capital with makeshift barricades and burning tires. Troops fired on crowds a day earlier, killing four protesters, according to doctors.

In his second public appearance since seizing power, Burhan said the military was forced to step in to resolve a growing political crisis.

“There were people who were talking about discrimina­ting against others, and that was driving this country to reach a civil war that would lead to the fragmentat­ion of this country, tearing apart its unity, its fabric and society. These dangers were in front of us,” Burhan told a televised news conference.

But the coup came less than a month before Burhan was supposed to hand the leadership of the Sovereign Council that runs the country to a civilian — a step that would have decreased the military’s hold on power.

“The whole country was deadlocked due to political rivalries,” Burhan said. “The experience during the past two years has proven that the participat­ion of political forces in the transition­al period is flawed and stirs up strife.”

Hamdok had been held at Burhan’s home, the general said, and was in good health. But of the many other senior government officials detained Monday, Burhan alleged that some tried to incite a rebellion within the armed forces, saying they would face trial. Others who are found “innocent” would be freed, he added.

The takeover came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of Sudan’s transition to democracy. It threatened to derail that process, which has progressed in fits and starts since the overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-bashir in a popular uprising two years ago.

At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres urged world powers to unite to confront a recent “epidemic of coups d’état.” But the U.N.’S most powerful body took no action during the closed-door consultati­ons about Sudan, a nation in Africa linked by language and culture to the Arab world.

Hamdok’s office had voiced concern for his safety and for the other detained officials.

In a statement, the office accused military leaders of acting in concert with Islamists, who have argued for a military government, and other politician­s linked to the now-dissolved National Congress Party, which dominated Sudan during al-bashir’s Islamistba­cked rule.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administra­tion announced the halt of $700 million in emergency assistance to Sudan and said Tuesday it was looking at sending stronger signals to the generals.

“They should first and foremost cease any violence against innocent civilians, and ... they should release those who have been detained and they should get back on a democratic path,” said Jake Sullivan, the administra­tion’s national security adviser.

Mariam al-mahdi, the foreign minister in the dissolved government, declared Tuesday that she and other members of Hamdok’s administra­tion remained the legitimate authority in Sudan.

 ?? Ashraf Shazly / Getty Images ?? Sudan’s Gen. Abdel Fattah al-burhan holds a press conference at the General Command of the Armed Forces in Khartoum on Tuesday.
Ashraf Shazly / Getty Images Sudan’s Gen. Abdel Fattah al-burhan holds a press conference at the General Command of the Armed Forces in Khartoum on Tuesday.

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