In a coup on Monday morning, the armed forces detained the prime minister and other top civilian officials. Soldiers killed at least three protesters and wounded more than 80 as demonstrations broke out across the country.

Sudan has been caught once again in turmoil on Monday following a military coup against the country’s civilian leadership, the latest threat to the country’s fragile democratic transition two-and-a-half years after a popular uprising unseated longstanding ruler Omar al-Bashir.

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudanese demonstrators take to the streets of the capital Khartoum to demand the government's transition to civilian rule, on October 21, 2021.

What is happening in Sudan right now?

In the early hours of Monday, Sudanese armed forces arrested five ministers from the transitional cabinet, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Later in the day, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan – the head of the army and chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC) – declared a state of emergency across the country, and announced the dissolution of the TSC and the government.

Burhan said he will form a “competent” government that will rule Sudan until elections in July 2023, vowing that the army will lead the country until a civilian government is elected.

Hamdok issued a statement from detention, saying that the moves by the military represent a “complete coup d’etat” and called on the Sudanese people to take to the streets to defend their revolution peacefully.

He added that the military forces that kidnapped him and his wife from their home had taken them to an undisclosed location.

The African Union has since suspended Sudan’s membership, and several international powers have condemned the move and called for Hamdok’s release and the resumption of the democratic transition.

Meanwhile, internet services have been “severely disrupted” across the country since the morning.

Demonstrators have spread to a number of Sudanese cities including Atbara, Wad Madani, and Port Sudan, and more are expected to attend the call for action. “We will not leave the streets until the civilian government is back and the transition is back,” protest attendee Sawsan Bashir told AFP. While demonstrator Haitham Mohamed says, “We are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan.”

Why was there a transitional government in the first place?

Bashir was toppled from power in April 2019 following four months of mass popular protests against his nearly 30 years of rule.

Having come to power through a military coup in 1989, Bashir was known for holding on to his leadership through a strict Islamist government and by fostering alliances with violent paramilitary groups used to suppress dissent in various regions of the vast country.

In 2009, Bashir became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. He was charged with committing war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity during the conflict in Darfur, the region in western Sudan where an estimated 300,000 people were killed and millions displaced from 2003 onwards.

Sudanese authorities indicated a few months ago that they were willing to extradite Bashir to The Hague alongside other wanted officials. But the former ruler remains detained in Kobar prison in Khartoum on a two-year prison sentence after he was convicted of corruption in December

How are Relations With The Neighbours.

Sudan is in a volatile region, bordering the Red Sea, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa. Several of its neighbours, including Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan have been affected by political upheavals and conflict.

Since late last year, conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has pushed tens of thousands of refugees into eastern Sudan and caused military tensions in disputed agricultural lands along the border.

Sudan is pushing, with Egypt, for a binding deal over the operation of a giant hydropower dam that Ethiopia is building near the Sudanese border. Talks have stalled but Ethiopia has started filling the reservoir behind the dam, which Sudan says could put its citizens, dams and water facilities at risk.

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