Most of the members of Sudan's cabinet and a large number of pro-government party leaders were arrested on Monday in an apparent coup after weeks of tension between the military and a civilian government, three political sources said.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was detained and moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, the Information Ministry said. Joint military forces holding Hamdok under house arrest were pressuring him to issue a supportive statement, it said.
Sudanese military and paramilitary forces deployed across the capital, Khartoum, restricting civilians' movements, as protesters carrying the national flag burnt tires in different areas of the city, a Reuters witness reported.
Khartoum airport was shut and international flights were suspended, according to Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV channel.
There was no immediate comment from the military.
Sudan has been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups meant to be sharing power following the 2019 ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir.
Bashir was toppled and jailed after months of street protests. A political transition agreed after his ouster has seen Sudan emerge from its isolation under three decades of rule by Bashir and was meant to lead to elections by the end of 2023.
Citing unidentified sources, Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Hadath said Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had been placed under house arrest, and that unidentified military forces arrested four cabinet ministers, one civilian member of the ruling Sovereign Council, and several state governors and party leaders.
Family sources said that military forces had stormed the house of Hamdok's media adviser and arrested him.
Reuters witnesses said internet services appeared to be down in Khartoum.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a main activist coalition in the uprising against Bashir, called on supporters to mobilize after what it called the arrest of cabinet members.
"We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them, close all roads with barricades, stage a general labor strike, and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them," the group said in a statement on Facebook.
As tensions built this month, a coalition of rebel groups and political parties aligned themselves with the military and called on it to dissolve the civilian government, staging a sit-in outside the presidential palace.
Last week, several cabinet ministers took part in big protests in several parts of Khartoum and other cities against the prospect of military rule.
The military head of the Sovereign Council has previously asserted his commitment to the transition.
First published: 11:06, 10.25.21