Updated Oct 25, 2021 - World

U.S. threatens to cut aid to Sudan after military takeover

 Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

The latest: The head of the military faction of the Sudanese government, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, said in a statement that he is announcing a state of emergency, suspending several parts of the interim constitution and dissolving the civilian government and interim sovereignty council — the highest governing body in the country.

  • Burhan said he is taking these steps to protect the achievements of the September 2019 revolution. He stressed he is committed to the Juba peace accord and that he will prepare the country for elections.

Several hours after he was placed under house arrest, a military force took Hamdok and his wife from their house to an undisclosed location, according to Adam Harika, Hamdok's adviser.

  • The official Facebook page of the Sudanese ministry of culture and information said the military sought to pressure Hamdok to issue a statement supporting the coup.
  • After he refused, he was reportedly taken by the military to an undisclosed location.

What they're saying: The Biden administration threatened to cut U.S. aid to Sudan if a military coup continues. U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman said in a statement that the military takeover is unacceptable.

  • "The U.S. is deeply alarmed at reports of a military take-over of the transitional government. This would contravene the Constitutional Declaration and the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people. Any changes to the transitional government by force puts at risk U.S. assistance," Feltman said.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after Feltman met with Gen. Burhan, and warned him against staging a coup.

Driving the news: Military units began arresting civilian officials and prominent political leaders, among them adversaries of Gen. Burhan, early on Monday.

  • Reports from Sudan say the internet service was partially disconnected and military units dispersed in the main roads and around Khartoum’s airport.
  • Anti-coup demonstrations were building in the capital Khartoum, with hundreds of civilians taking to the streets to protest the military, according to Facebook live video.

The big picture: After a mass uprising toppled dictator Omar al-Bashir in April, 2019, a joint military-civilian council took power to preside over a three-and-a-half-year transition toward democratic elections.

Flashback: Just several weeks ago, the civilian government in Sudan announced it had prevented an attempted coup by military forces loyal to the ousted dictator.

  • But in the aftermath of that, tensions between the civilians and the generals in the country reached what Prime Minister Hamdok has called the “worst and most dangerous" crisis of Sudan’s transition to democracy.

Of note: The Biden administration has thrown its weight behind Hamdok and the civilian leadership, with Secretary of State Tony Blinken tweeting in support of the prime minister last week.

  • National security adviser Jake Sullivan called Hamdok after the coup attempt several weeks ago and issued a warning to those seeking to thwart the transition.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the Biden administration's response.

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