KHARTOUM. – The African Union said yesterday it had suspended Sudan until civilian rule in the country is restored, saying it rejected the military takeover as an “unconstitutional” seizure of power.
The continent-wide bloc said it “strongly condemns the seizure of power” and was suspending Sudan from all AU activities “until the effective restoration of the civilian-led transitional authority”.
Later, the World Bank also decided to suspend aid to Sudan.
The president of the World Bank, David Malpass, said in a statement: “I am greatly concerned by recent events in Sudan, and I fear the dramatic impact this can have on the country’s social and economic recovery and development.”
Sudanese General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Monday ordered the dissolution of the government and declared a state of emergency, sparking widespread international condemnation.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was placed under military arrest, along with his ministers and civilian members of Sudan’s ruling council, sparking angry protests on the streets on Khartoum.
Hamdok was later released under close guard, but other ministers and civilian leaders remain in detention.
Security forces launched sweeping arrests of anti-coup protesters Wednesday, in a bid to end three days of demonstrations against the power grab.
A number of Western powers have called for an urgent meeting with Hamdok, saying they still recognise the prime minister and his cabinet as the constitutional leaders of Sudan.
The AU suspended Sudan in June 2019 after pro-democracy protesters demanding civilian rule were gunned down outside army headquarters in Khartoum.
Their membership was reinstated three months later after Hamdok announced the appointment of Sudan’s first cabinet since the ousting of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir.
Khartoum International Airport remained closed Wednesday despite unconfirmed reports that the airport will soon reopen.
Airport officials did not respond with confirmation.
Cairo airport officials said they have not recieved a notice that it will be reopened.
The airport was closed since Sudan’s military seized power on Monday, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested the prime minister.
The coup threatens to halt Sudan’s fitful transition to democracy, which began after the 2019 ouster of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in a popular uprising.
It came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of that process.
Meanwhile, people continued to take to the streets to voice their opposition to army rule.
In Atbara in Sudan’s north-east, people chanted anti-coup slogans during a march yesterday. There have also been rallies supporting the military.
In an interview on Monday, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, who is also the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), condemned the military coup in Sudan, stressing that this was “not the African way” to deal with differences.
He regretted that such coups were back in fashion “in some parts” of the continent, but pointed to the recent elections in Zambia and in his country as examples of democratic progress. – Agencies