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Sudan’s prime minister at home under heavy guard after coup

Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, who was ousted in a military coup in Sudan, has been returned to his home, according to his staff.

Khartoum, 27 October 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, who was ousted in a military coup in Sudan, has been returned to his home, according to his staff.

He is there with his wife and is being heavily guarded, Hamdok’s office announced in a statement on the Ministry of Information’s Facebook page.

It is unclear how freely Hamdok can move around.

The coup on Monday came after many weeks of protests and political crisis in the East African country. Hamdok had led a transitional government together with military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan since August 2019.

Earlier, the EU had threatened to stop its development aid payments to the coup plotters.

The United States has already temporarily suspended aid to the tune of 700 million US dollars.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the reinstatement of the civilian government, saying Germany would otherwise not continue its support under these conditions.

On Monday, General al-Burhan announced the ousting of civilian government members and imposed a nationwide state of emergency. The whereabouts of Hamdok was initially unclear, before al-Burhan said on Tuesday he had been held temporarily at the general’s home “for his own safety.”

The European Union and the United Nations have called for Hamdok’s immediate release.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed Hamdok’s “release,” according to the ministry’s spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday evening.

“The secretary welcomed the prime minister’s release from custody and reiterated his call on Sudanese military forces to release all civilian leaders in detention and to ensure their safety,” Price wrote in a statement.

If the current situation does not change, there will be serious consequences for the EU’s financial and other engagements in Sudan, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday. Hamdok’s return home was not known at the time.

In New York, the UN Security Council met in emergency session on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Sudan, but was unable to agree on a joint statement.

China and Russia baulked at referring to events in Sudan as a coup, as stated in the wording the other council members had agreed on, sources said.

Doctors and civil servants on Tuesday called for a general strike to protest the coup in the nation of 44 million people.

Doctors would cease working in all hospitals across the country and only treat emergencies, the national Sudan Doctors Central Committee said, adding that doctors would from now on no longer work in military hospitals at all.

Government officials in the ministries, civil service and central bank also announced a general strike.

Sudan was ruled by authoritarian Omar al-Bashir for nearly 30 years. The long-time strongman was forced from office in April 2019 by months of mass protests and a military coup.

The military and civilian opposition then agreed on a joint transitional government – led by al-Burhan and Hamdok – to pave the way for future elections. The next elections would now be in 2023, al-Burhan has said.

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