The leader of the Sudanese coup, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said the military took power on Monday to prevent “civil war”.
He added that deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was being held at the general’s home “for his safety” and that he would soon be allowed to return home.
Protests continue for a second day in the capital, Khartoum, with streets, bridges and shops closed. Telephone and internet connections were also interrupted.
At least 10 people are said to have been killed since the riots began.
“The dangers we witnessed last week could have led the country to civil war,” he said at a news conference.
“The prime minister was at his home but we were afraid he would be injured and now he is with me at my house.
“I was with him last night … and he’s moving on with his life … he’ll go back to his house when the threats are over.”
General Burhan said he dissolved the civilian government, arrested political leaders and declared a state of emergency as political groups incited civilians against the security forces.
The coup dictated global condemnation. The United States, the United Kingdom, the EU, the United Nations and the African Union, of which Sudan is a member, have all called for the immediate release of all arrested political leaders, including members of Hamdok’s cabinet.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said Sudan was among “an epidemic of coups d’etat” that hit Africa and Asia and urged the “great powers” of the world to unite for “a ‘ effective deterrence “through the United Nations Security Council.
By Monday, the troops would go house to house in Khartoum, arresting the organizers of the local protest.
Mohamed Osman of the BBC in Khartoum says thousands more have joined the protests in the capital, mainly in residential neighborhoods near the city center.
The city’s airport is closed and international flights are suspended.
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The country’s central bank staff reportedly went on strike and doctors across the country are said to refuse to work in military-run hospitals except in an emergency.
Civilian leaders and their military counterparts have been at odds since longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019.
An agreement between civilian and military leaders was designed to lead Sudan towards democracy, but has proved fragile with a series of previous coup attempts, the most recent just over a month ago.
General Burhan, who headed the power-sharing council, said Sudan is committed to transitioning to a civilian government, with elections scheduled for July 2023.
The United States has called for the restoration of civilian rule without preconditions.
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