The Sudanese government announced that it had thwarted a coup attempt early on Tuesday, as the country is undergoing a fragile transition since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
The government said that officers and civilians linked to the ousted president’s regime attempted a coup, but the government quickly took control of matters. “We took control of an attempted coup by army officers in the early hours of Tuesday morning,” Information Minister Hamza Balloul said.
He added that the authorities “arrested leaders in the failed conspiracy in which military and civilian officers belonging to the former regime participated.”
Agence France-Presse quoted high-ranking military and government sources as saying that the attempt included a group of officers who were “immediately stopped” after they “failed” to take control of the state radio and television building.
After announcing the failure of the attempt, state television began broadcasting a series of patriotic songs.
A member of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Muhammad al-Faki Suleiman, told the BBC that the situation had become under control after the coup attempt against the government today.
He added that the military and security services managed to control the military units that the coup plotters intended to control.
He pointed out that they wanted to control the Armored Corps in Al-Shajara, south of Khartoum, and the Wadi Sidna Military District, north of Omdurman.
He added that the authorities had arrested the leaders of the coup and that the relevant authorities would immediately begin investigations with them.
Previous coup attempts
And there have been previous coup attempts in Sudan since the ouster of Bashir, which officials blamed on supporters of the former president and members of his dissolved party.
There is a long history of coups in Sudan, as Bashir himself, a former major general, came to power after an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989.
The former president has been detained since his ouster in the high-security Kober prison in Khartoum, and is facing trial for the coup that brought him to power.
“We will not allow a coup to happen,” Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, said in a speech to his forces on Tuesday.
“We want a real democratic transition through free and fair elections, as happened in the past,” the leader, known as Hemedti, added.
Under the power-sharing agreement concluded in August 2019, Sudan is currently governed by a transitional government composed of civilian and military representatives, tasked with overseeing the return of full civilian rule.
The agreement originally provided for the formation of a legislative assembly during a three-year transitional period, but that period was redefined when Sudan signed a peace agreement with a coalition of rebel groups last October.
More than two years later, the country still suffers from chronic economic problems inherited from the Bashir regime, as well as deep divisions between the various factions leading the transition.
The transitional administration headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok pledged to dismantle al-Bashir’s legacy, reform the battered economy, and establish peace with the rebel groups that fought al-Bashir’s regime.
Sudan signed peace agreements last year with rebels from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile after protracted negotiations in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
The leaders of the former rebel groups were subsequently appointed to the Council of Ministers and the Governing Council of Sudan.
Hamdok’s government has also implemented a series of difficult economic reforms to qualify for debt relief from the International Monetary Fund.
Many Sudanese saw the steps, which included reducing subsidies and the orderly floating of the Sudanese pound, as too harsh.
Sporadic protests erupted over IMF-backed reforms and the rising cost of living, as well as delays in achieving justice for the families of those killed under Bashir.
On Monday, protesters blocked major roads as well as Port Sudan, the country’s main trade hub, in protest of a peace deal signed with rebel groups last year.
Life returns to normal
The BBC News correspondent in Khartoum says that life appears to be normal, despite the Sudanese authorities’ declaration that they have thwarted the coup attempt.
One of the main bridges linking the cities of Khartoum and Omdurman was reopened moments after it was closed by the army.
It did not deploy additional military reinforcements in strategic locations such as the presidential palace, the headquarters of the Council of Ministers, and the General Command of the Armed Forces, and did not deploy military reinforcements in the main streets and bridges.
He added that school and university students usually went to their educational institutions, and employees went to government and private institutions to practice their work.
Reactions continued to what was described as the coup attempt, as the National Umma Party denounced it as an attempt to obstruct the democratic transition.
In a statement, the party accused leaders in the regime of ousted President Omar al-Bashir of being behind the coup attempt.
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