Unidentified military and paramilitary groups launched a coup in Khartoum early on Monday, 25 October. The Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, civilian members of the Transitional Sovereign Council and other government ministers have all been detained. A nationwide state of emergency has been declared and the sovereign council has been dissolved. Soldiers have also been deployed across Khartoum and are restricting the movement of civilians, as well as blocking the main roads and bridges leading to the capital.
According to Sudan’s Ministry of Culture and Media, military forces besieged the home of Hamdok, placing him under house arrest. However, after he refused to endorse the coup, he was moved to another location, with his whereabouts currently unknown.
Other civilian officials taken into custody include, the ministers for industry and information, the governor of Khartoum State, the prime minister’s media adviser and the spokesman for the Transitional Sovereign Council.
Telecommunications and internet access has been restricted across the country, with global internet monitor NetBlocks reporting a 24 percent drop in connectivity early hours of Monday morning. Elsewhere in Omdurman, soldiers stormed the headquarters of Sudan’s state broadcaster and detained a number of employees. Flights have also been suspended at Khartoum International Airport.
Large-scale, anti-coup protests have erupted across the capital and in other locations nationwide, resulting in clashes with military personnel. Local reports suggest soldiers have deployed tear gas and fired live ammunition in Khartoum to disperse the protests, resulting in at least two fatalities and dozens of casualties.
The coup has been denounced by the international community, including the United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union and the United States. All have expressed concern over Sudan’s political transition to civilian rule.
SOLACE GLOBAL COMMENT
Governance in Sudan had been shared between military and civilian groups since the overthrow of long-term President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The former president was ousted by the military following months of sustained unrest. Civilians and military leaders are now supposed to be running the country together on a joint committee known as the Sovereign Council.
However, there has long been public tension between the military and civilian sides of the council. Just last month several officers were arrested for attempting a coup. The government, at the time, attributed the putsch attempt to Bashir loyalists who were members of the armoured corps.
Following the coup attempt, Sections of the Sudanese public rallied in support for the military. Many at these protest called for the military to overthrow the transitional government, who many accuse of being responsible for the country’s poor economic performance. Indeed, the prime minister’s moves to cut fuel subsidies were exceptionally unpopular.
Despite the number of pro-military rallies, it is unclear how widely supported the military are. Members of the ousted government have called on people to “peacefully” protest against the coup. Thus far, demonstrations have taken place throughout Monday night, with photos showing mass rallies and burning road blockades. Clashes and at least seven fatalities have also been reported.
Going forward the situation remains tense. The country is reliant on international support and financial aid. Both may be withdrawn as a result of the coup. This will mean that the military will need to work quickly to convince international onlookers, and the Sudanese people, that they are supportive of the democratic process. Should this support be withdrawn, the military are unlikely to be able to sustain the post-pandemic economic recovery.
Further protests are also expected with the military likely to respond in a violent fashion. As a result, the situation on the ground will be changeable in the coming days, presenting a severe risk to those in country.
SOLACE GLOBAL ADVICE
- Avoid all non-essential travel to Sudan. The situation is continuing to evolve, and it remains possible that there will be a further deterioration in the security environment in the coming days.
- Those currently in Sudan should closely monitor developments to the situation via trusted sources, media outlets and Solace Secure Alerts.
- Additionally, remain vigilant and limit all non-essential movements in country.
- Strictly adhere to any directives issued by authorities (including curfews and possible movements restrictions).
- Avoid all large gatherings and protests as a safety precaution. There is a heightened risk of violent unrest that poses significant incidental risks to bystanders.
- Avoid large concentrations of military or security personnel as this may be a sign of an imminent security operation.
- Airport operations have already been suspended, clients are advised to anticipate and prepare for prolonged disruption.
- If caught in the vicinity of unrest/protests, leave the area immediately and seek secure shelter.
- Anticipate disruptions to regular state functions and essential services in the near term.
- Ensure contingency plans are prepared in case of a deterioration of the local security environment. Plans should include a shelter-in-place option, possible evacuation routes and in-country security assistance.
- Ensure that all important documents are kept in a safe place, look to make photocopies of these documents and back them up online.
- Have a grab bag with food, water, important documents and battery packs to recharge devices ready in case of evacuation.
Solace Global remains available to provide the full range of Travel Risk Management services to clients. Solace Global is also able to provide comprehensive crisis management, response, and evacuation services.
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