By Ebi Kesiena
Military forces have arrested Sudan’s acting Prime Minister and several Senior Government Civilian Officials early Monday at their homes, a government source stated after weeks of tension between the military and civilian transitional authorities in the East African country.
The internet was cut off throughout the country, AFP journalists noted, while demonstrators gathered in the streets to protest against the arrests, setting fire to tires.
The events come just two days after a Sudanese faction calling for a transfer of power to civilian rule warned of a creeping coup at a press conference that a crowd of unidentified people sought to prevent.
Sudan has been undergoing a precarious transition marred by political divisions and power struggles since the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. Since August 2019, the country has been ruled by a civilian-military administration charged with overseeing the transition to an all-civilian regime.
The main civilian bloc the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) which led the anti-Bashir protests in 2019, has split into two opposing factions.
FFC leader Yasser Arman said at a press conference in the capital Khartoum on Saturday that the current crisis is artificial and is taking the form of a creeping coup.
“We renew our confidence in the government, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, and in the reform of the transitional institutions, but without order or imposition,” Arman added.
Recall that tensions between the two sides have long existed, but the divisions were exacerbated after the failed coup on September 21. Last week, tens of thousands of Sudanese marched in several cities to support the full transfer of power to civilians, and to counter a rival multi-day sit-in outside the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum, which demanded a return to military rule.
Mr. Hamdok has previously described the divisions within the transitional government as the most serious and dangerous crisis facing the transition.
On Saturday, Mr. Hamdok denied rumors that he had agreed to a Cabinet reshuffle, calling them “not accurate”. The Prime Minister also “stressed that he did not monopolize the right to decide the fate of the transitional institutions”.
Analysts say recent mass demonstrations show strong support for a civilian-led democracy, but street protests may have little impact on powerful factions pushing for a return to military rule.