Sudan's top general Abdul Fattah Al Burhan during his televised address on October 25, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Khartoum: Sudan's ruling council head General Abdul Fattah Al Burhan announced on Monday a state of emergency across the country and the dissolution of the transitional sovereign council and the government.

Al Burhan said infighting between politicians and ambition and incitement to violence forced to him to take action. He said quarrels among political factions prompted the military to intervene.

ِِِAl Burhan said he would form a "competent" technocrat government, pledged to create numerous state institutions like the supreme court, and said Sudan remained committed to international agreements it had signed.

"To rectify the revolution's course, we have decided to declare a state of emergency nationwide... dissolve the transitional sovereign council, and dissolve the cabinet," Al Burhan said.

Meanwhile, a UAE foreign ministry official said on twitter that the country is following developments in Sudan closely and called for stability and to avoid escalation.

Saudi Arabia’s said the Kingdom is following with “concern” the current events in Sudan, calling for the “importance of restraint, calm, and de-escalation,” in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Sudan to “preserve all the political and economic gains that have been achieved and all that aims to protect the unity of all political components” in the country.

“The Kingdom affirms its continued standing by the brotherly Sudanese people and its support for everything that achieves security, stability, growth and prosperity for Sudan and its people,” the statement on SPA said.

Egypt has urged all parties in neighbouring Sudan to work to ensure “stability and security’’ of the country.

Egypt, which shares access to the vital Nile River and a long southern border with Sudan, said Monday that it was “closely following’’ the country’s tumult and emphasized the need to deal “with current challenges in a manner that guarantees the safety of this brotherly country.’’

Egypt said that it was urging Sudanese factions to “give priority to the higher interest of the country and to national consensus.’’

Earlier, armed forces detained Sudan's prime minister on Monday, the information ministry said, after weeks of tensions between military and civilian figures who shared power since the ouster of Omar Al Bashir.

Civilian members of Sudan's ruling council and ministers in Abdullah Hamdok's transitional government were also detained by the joint military forces, the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

African Union Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Monday called for the "immediate resumption" of dialogue between Sudan's military and civilians after security forces detained senior figures in the country's transitional government.

"The Chairperson calls for the immediate resumption of consultations between civilians and military within the framework of the political declaration and the constitutional decree," Faki said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Internet services were cut across the country and the main roads and bridges connecting with the capital Khartoum shuttered, it added.

In response, thousands flooded the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman to protest the apparent military takeover. Footage shared online appeared to show protesters blocking streets and setting fire to tires as security forces used tear gas to disperse them.

Protesters could be heard chanting, "The people are stronger, stronger'' and "Retreat is not an option!'' as plumes of smoke filled the air. Videos on social media showed large crowds crossing bridges over the Nile to the center of the capital.

At least 12 protesters were wounded in demonstrations, according to the Sudanese Doctors Committee, without giving details.

"Civilian members of the transitional sovereign council and a number of ministers from the transitional government have been detained by joint military forces," the information ministry said.

The information ministry said "joint military forces" had arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and members of the government and had taken them to an undisclosed location.

A Reuters witness saw joint forces from the military and from the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces stationed in the streets in Khartoum.

Sudan has been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups meant to be sharing power following the 2019 ouster of former leader Al Bashir.

Al Bashir was toppled and jailed after months of street protests. A political transition agreed after his ouster has seen Sudan emerge from its isolation under three decades of rule by Bashir and was meant to lead to elections by the end of 2023.

Sudanese demonstrators rally in the capital Khartoum on October 25, 2021 to denounce overnight detentions by the army of members of Sudan's government. Image Credit: AFP

US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman said the United States was deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover of the transitional government in Sudan.

On the official Twitter of the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs, Feltman warned that a military takeover would contravene Sudan's Constitutional Declaration and puts at risk US assistance.

The United States' embassy in Sudan's capital Khartoum on Monday urged people disrupting the transition to democracy to stand down and allow the civilian-led government to continue its work.

The European Union on Monday called for the release of Sudan's civilian leaders and insisted "violence and bloodshed must be avoided".

"The EU is very concerned about Sudan's military forces reportedly putting Prime Minister (Abdullah) Hamdok under house arrest, as well as detaining other members of the civilian leadership, and we urge for their fast release," European Commission spokeswoman Nabila Massrali told journalists.

The Reuters witness said military and paramilitary forces deployed across the capital, Khartoum, restricting civilians' movements, as protesters carrying the national flag burnt tires in different parts of the city.

The information ministry said on its Facebook page that a number of ministers and civilian members of the ruling Sovereign Council were arrested.

Khartoum airport was shut and international flights were suspended, according to Al Arabiya TV channel.

Popular Technocrat

Hamdok is an economist and former senior UN official who was appointed as a technocratic prime minister in 2019 and is well respected internationally.

Though popular with pro-democracy civilian groups, he has struggled to keep the transition going due to political splits between the military and civilians and the pressures of an economic crisis.

Family sources told Reuters that military forces had stormed the house of Hamdok's media adviser and arrested him.

Reuters witnesses said internet services appeared to be down in Khartoum.

Timeline: Sudan since the fall of Al Bashir
KHARTOUM, Oct 25, 2021 (AFP) - Here is a recap of events in Sudan since autocratic president Omar al-Bashir was toppled over two years ago:
2019: Al Bashir ousted - On April 11, 2019, four months after mass protests sparked by a hike in bread prices spiral into demands for wholesale reform, Sudan’s army removes Bashir from power.
He is replaced by a transitional military government.
Thousands camp in front of army headquarters demanding civilian rule.
Talks between the generals and protest leaders break down.
Bloody crackdown
Armed men move in on the protest camp on June 3 and dozens are killed in a days-long crackdown.
A feared paramilitary group that sprang from the notorious Janjaweed militia, accused of war crimes in the 2003 Darfur conflict, is blamed for the violence, but rejects allegations it was involved.
Power-sharing: After the African Union intervenes, civilian and military factions agree to share power in a three-year transition to full civilian rule.
On August 17, a “constitutional declaration” is signed and a sovereign council comprised of leading military and civilian figures is formed three days later.
In October, the government and rebel groups who had fought Bashir’s iron-fisted rule for decades agree to a “permanent ceasefire” in the country’s three war zones.
Al Bashir convicted: On December 14, Al Bashir is convicted of corruption and sentenced to two years in a correctional centre.
The toppled autocrat has long been wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the 2003 Darfur conflict in which 300,000 people were killed.
A Khartoum prosecutor rejects extradition as not “necessary”.
2020: Unrest spreads - Abdullah Hamdok survives an assassination attempt on March 9, 2020, which many see as a bid to derail the transition.
Inflation skyrockets in April to 99 percent and higher, with food prices soaring after borders are closed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
On June 30, street demonstrations reiterate demands for justice for people killed under Bashir and during the protests of recent years.
Al Bashir tried for coup: Al Bashir goes on trial in Khartoum on July 21 over the 1989 coup that brought him to power.
The government announces it will devalue the currency in a bid to curb black market activity as it struggles with an “economic emergency”.
Peace deal: In October, Sudan signs a landmark peace deal with an alliance of rebel groups.
Two key groups refuse to sign and tribes in Sudan’s east also oppose the accord, saying it overlooks them.
Also in October, Sudan agrees to normalise ties with Israel, in what is seen as a quid pro quo for the US to remove the country from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list in December.
Ethiopia tensions: In November, conflict breaks out in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, sending tens of thousands of refugees into Sudan.
The fighting rekindles a decades-old dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia over the fertile border region of Al Fashaqa. Khartoum sends troops to secure the area.
The two countries are also at odds over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, as Sudan - along with Egypt - are both downstream from Ethiopia on the Nile.
2021: Fragile government - Sudan in February announces a new cabinet including seven ministers from ex-rebel groups.
In June, Hamdok warns of fractures within the civilian alliance which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests.
Military ‘coup’
Protests in eastern Sudan block trade through the key hub of Port Sudan from September into October.
Khartoum announces on September 21 that it has thwarted a coup attempt by civilian and military plotters linked to Al Bashir’s ousted regime.
Protesters take to the streets in Khartoum from October 16 to demand a military government, ostensibly at the behest of a splinter faction of the main civilian protest bloc.
In response, tens of thousands demonstrate on October 21 in support for the country’s transition to a civilian-led democracy.
On Monday, the information ministry says armed forces detain civilian members of the ruling council and ministers in the government, as well as premier Hamdok, after he refused to support their “coup”.
News of the detentions sparks demonstrations in the capital.
The ministry says internet services have been cut across the country and the main roads and bridges connecting with Khartoum shuttered.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a main activist coalition in the uprising against Bashir, called on supporters to mobilise after what it called the arrest of cabinet members.

"We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them, close all roads with barricades, stage a general labour strike, and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them," the group said in a statement on Facebook.

As tensions built this month, a coalition of rebel groups and political parties aligned themselves with the military and called on it to dissolve the civilian government, staging a sit-in outside the presidential palace.

Last week, several cabinet ministers took part in big protests in several parts of Khartoum and other cities against the prospect of military rule.

The military head of the Sovereign Council has previously asserted his commitment to the transition.