Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

Sudanese security forces have detained three prominent pro-democracy figures as international pressure rises on the country’s military to return to the coup, it staged earlier this week.

Overnight arrests in the capital Khartoum were reported by family members and pro-democracy groups on Wednesday.

But a few hours earlier, the military allowed the ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife to return home after previously detaining them.

Hamdok, a former UN economist, was arrested along with many government officials and politicians when the military seized power on Monday.

The activists taken overnight were Ismail al-Taj, leader of the Sudanese Professionals Association; Sediq al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, a top official in Sudan’s largest political party; and Khalid al-Silaik, a former adviser to the prime minister.

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok
Sudan’s ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was released from military custody.(AP: Fil)

Al-Silaik’s wife, Marwa Kamel, said her husband was detained moments after giving an interview to Qatar-based television station Al-Jazeera.

In the interview, he criticized the military takeover and called Mr Hamdok and his government the legitimate administration of Sudan.

The military takeover threatens to halt Sudan’s transition to democracy, which began after the ouster in 2019 of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in a popular uprising.

Military General
General Abdel-Fattah Burhan says he will hold democratic elections in 2023.(AP: Sudan TV)

The new strong man is General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, who has promised to hold elections as planned in July 2023 and to appoint a technocrat government in the meantime.

But critics doubt the military is serious about eventually relinquishing control to civilian rule.

The coup came just weeks before General Burhan was to hand over the leadership of the supreme governing body, the Sovereign Council, to a civilian person.

The council is made up of civilians and members of the military.

Sir. Hamdok’s transitional government had run the affairs of day.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese have taken to the streets this week to call for the Hamdok government to return.

A little black boy in orange carries the Sudanese flag on a city street while the smoke waves behind him.
Angry Sudanese, including children, have stood their ground in street protests against Monday’s coup.(AFP)

Security forces have killed at least four people and injured more than 140 others in the past two days.

On Monday, General Burhan dissolved the sovereign council and the transitional government and declared a state of emergency.

He claimed that the military was forced to step in to prevent the country from slipping into civil war.

AP / ABC

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