Sudanese officials say coup attempt failed, army under control
Published Tuesday, September 21, 2021 | 7:22 pm
Updated 3 hours, 3 minutes ago
Sudanese authorities reported an attempted coup by a group of soldiers Tuesday, but said the attempt had failed and the country’s governing council and military remained in control.
The development underscored the fragility of the Sudanese road to democracy, more than two years after the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir amid a public uprising against his three decades of rule.
Sudan’s state television urged the public to “resist” the coup attempt, but did not provide any further details.
âEverything is under control. The revolution is victorious, âwrote Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, member of the ruling military-civil council, on Facebook. He also urged the Sudanese to protect the transition.
A senior military official said that an unspecified number of Panzer Corps troops were behind the attempt and that they tried to take over several government institutions but were stopped.
He said the attempt began at dawn and a group of soldiers tried to occupy the military headquarters and state television station in Khartoum’s twin town, Omdurman, to read a statement to citizens. The content of the statement was not immediately clear.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for not having the authority to brief the media, said over three dozen soldiers, including senior officers, were arrested.
Brig. Al-Tahir Abu Haja, a media adviser to the military chief, said in a televised statement that at least 21 suspected officers and some troops had been arrested and that the authorities were looking for other suspects in the failed attempt.
Footage circulated on the internet shows troops and armored vehicles stationed on main roads and intersections in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Security has also been increased at the military headquarters and other government buildings in the city.
Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a member of the Sovereign Council, called the attempt a “foolish and bad choice”.
âThe option of a military coup left us with a failed and weak country,â he wrote on Twitter. “The path to democratic transition and securing the political future and unity of the country remains an option.”
Culture and Information Minister Hamza Baloul later said in a statement read on state television that the security forces arrested civilian and military leaders behind the coup attempt and interrogated them after the military managed to get control of the tank corps camp south of Khartoum .
Baloul, who is also a government spokesman, said the authorities are chasing away others “from the remnants” of al-Bashir’s regime who are suspected of orchestrating the attempted coup. He did not provide any further details.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok blamed the remnants of al-Bashir’s government for the coup attempt, describing it as an attempt to undermine the democratic transition in Sudan.
“What happened is an orchestrated coup by factions inside and outside the armed forces,” he said.
Speaking during a state televised emergency cabinet meeting, Hamdok, the civilian face of the Sudanese government, said the attempt “underscored the need for a full, clear and transparent review of the transition.”
General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the chairman of the Sovereign Council, and his deputy, General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who commands the powerful Rapid Support Forces, visited the Armored Corps camp on Tuesday, according to video footage disseminated by the council.
If the coup attempt had been successful, it would have “had devastating consequences for the unity of the military and the country too,” said Burhan.
Volker Perthes, the United Nations political envoy for Sudan, condemned the attempt. “The United Nations condemns any attempt – be it a coup or any other – to undermine the democratic political transition process and the pluralistic nature of the state as set out in the Constitutional Declaration,” he said.
Since the overthrow of al-Bashir by the military in April 2019 after four months of mass protests, Sudan has been on the fragile path to democratic rule. For decades, al-Bashir’s government, allied with the Islamists, had worked to obstruct ideologues within the military and other security agencies. Al-Bashir himself came to power in 1989 through an Islamist-backed military coup.
The country is now ruled by a joint civil and military government. The interim government is under increasing pressure to end wars with rebel groups in order to rehabilitate the country’s ailing economy, attract urgently needed foreign aid and deliver the promised democracy.
The US government condemned the coup attempt in a statement from Samantha Powers, director of the US Agency for International Development, who recently visited Sudan.
âThe United States, along with allies in the region and around the world, pledges to continue to support the continuation of Sudan’s historic transition to democracy and to work with actors across Sudan to make much-needed advances in economic, Justice, governance, human rights, and security reform, âsaid Power.