‘Utterly unacceptable’: World reacts to Sudan arrests

Governments and human rights groups demand the immediate release of Sudanese civilian political leaders and condemn apparent coup attempt.

World leaders and human rights groups have condemned the detention of several high-ranking Sudanese officials in what appears to be a coup attempt, as a senior military official dissolved the government.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, a general who headed the Sovereign Council, a power-sharing ruling body, announced a state of emergency across the country and dissolved the council and the transitional government on Monday.

Thousands of people poured into the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after security forces arrested members of the country’s cabinet, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and several pro-government party leaders.

The internet has been cut off, while roads and bridges in Khartoum have been blocked. The airport has also been closed and the headquarters of state television and radio were raided by security forces.

Here are reactions from around the world to Monday’s events:

United States

The United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman rejected the apparent military power grab as “utterly unacceptable”.

“The US is deeply alarmed at reports of a military take-over of the transitional government,” he said, just days after he visited the Sudanese capital. “This would contravene the Constitutional Declaration and the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people and is utterly unacceptable.

“As we have said repeatedly, any changes to the transitional government by force puts at risk US assistance.”

African Union

Sudan’s political leaders should be released and human rights respected, the African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a statement.

Faki said talks should resume between the military and the civilian wing of the transitional government.

United Nations

Volker Perthes, the UN’s special representative to Sudan, called the civilian leaders’ detention “unacceptable” and called for their immediate release.

Perthes “urged all parties to exercise utmost restraint. All parties must immediately return to dialogue and engage in good faith to restore the constitutional order”.

European Union

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that he was following events in Sudan with “utmost concern”.

“The EU calls on all stakeholders and regional partners to put back on track the transition process,” he wrote on Twitter.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said people in Khartoum took to the streets in an attempt to safeguard the country’s transition to democracy.

“The people of Sudan are back in the street, to protect their democratic transition. Will the world stand shoulder to shoulder with them?” she said.


Germany condemned the power grab and called for an “immediate end” to the action.

“The news of a new coup attempt in Sudan is troubling,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement.

“I call on everyone in Sudan responsible for security and order to continue Sudan’s transition to democracy and to respect the will of the people. The attempted overthrow must come to an immediate end.”

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