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Sudan’s ousted PM sent house, military says

Sudanese ousted prime minister Abdallah Hamdok and his wife have been allowed to return to their home in Khartoum, an official says.

Mr Hamdok’s house is “under heavy security”, according to an official on Tuesday who did not say whether the Hamdoks are free to move or make calls.

Sudan’s ruling general Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan earlier said the prime minister he deposed in a coup on Monday was being held for his own safety and would likely be released soon.

But he warned that other members of the dissolved government could face trial as protests against the coup continued in the streets.

A day after the military seized power in a move widely denounced by the international community, pro-democracy demonstrators blocked roads in the capital with makeshift barricades and burning tyres.

Troops fired on crowds a day earlier, killing four protesters, according to doctors.

The takeover came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and the 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.

The United Nations Security Council was to discuss the situation in Sudan at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged world powers to come together to act decisively at the council, saying such unity was needed to confront an “epidemic of coups d’etat” recently.

In his second public appearance since seizing power, Burhan said on Tuesday that the military was forced to step in to resolve a growing political crisis that he alleged could have led to civil war.

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 told a televised news conference.

“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.”

Of the slew of senior government officials detained in Monday’s coup, some tried to incite a rebellion within the armed forces, Burhan alleged, saying they would face trial. Others who are found “innocent” would be freed, he said.

Mr Hamdok was being held at Burhan’s home for his safety, the general said, and was in good health. He added that the politician would be released “today or tomorrow”.

Western governments and the UN have condemned the coup and called for the release of Mr Hamdok and other senior officials.

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

Sudan’s Ministry of Culture and Information, which remains loyal to the deposed government, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that three of the country’s ambassadors – in Belgium, Switzerland and France – abroad have defected.

Hours after the arrests, Sudanese flooded the streets of Khartoum and other cities in protest. At least seven people were killed and over 80 wounded when security forces opened fire.

The country and the world are now braced to see if more violence will unfold in the nation, which saw a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2019.

A bigger test of how the military will respond to the resistance could come on Saturday when protesters plan a mass march to demand a return to civilian rule.

The military sent mixed signals on Tuesday about what the coming days would hold.

Burhan promised to gradually restore internet and communications services that were severely disrupted during the coup.

But Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority said on Tuesday it was suspending all flights to and from the Khartoum International Airport until October 30.

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