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Sudan’s PM regains freedom, as military shoots tear gas at protesters

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Coup in Sudan, Prime minister, other govt officials arrested

The Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok was on Tuesday released after a day of intense international pressure following his removal from office in a military coup.

The development was disclosed in a statement by his office, noting that Hamdok was “under close surveillance” while other ministers and civilian leaders remained under arrest.

The army arrested key leaders of government, and dissolved the country’s institutions on Monday.

Following the coup, the United States and European Union had threatened to suspend their aids to the country.

Also, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, demanded that Hamdok “be released immediately” ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting that began at 20:00 GMT.

The coup comes barely two years into a delicate power-sharing arrangement between the military and civilians after the army’s ousting during enormous street protests in April 2019 of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Top General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had earlier vouched for Hamdok’s “good health”, while a military source who requested anonymity said he had been escorted home, with “security measures” erected “around the perimeter”.

Meanwhile, angry citizens had continued to stand their ground on barricaded streets where they burned tyres, chanting “No to military rule” after four people were shot dead by security forces.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella of unions that were instrumental in the late 2018-2019 anti-Bashir protests, said frenzied putschist forces are carrying out vengeful attacks on protest gatherings in separate parts of the country following Hamdok’s release.

Witnesses in the east Khartoum district of Burri said security forces fired tear gas at protesters blocking the main road in opposition to the coup.

READ ALSO: Coup in Sudan, Prime minister, other govt officials arrested

Sudan risks “going back into a period of being shunned by the rest of the world” and losing badly needed financial aid, said Alex de Waal, a veteran expert on Sudan who is executive director of the World Peace Foundation.

Hamdok’s government earlier this year unlocked international financial assistance after it was frozen for years under Bashir.

On Tuesday the country was already physically cut off. The aviation authority said all flights have been suspended until October 30.

Sudan’s ambassadors to Belgium, France and Switzerland on Tuesday made clear their allegiance to the civilian leaders, declaring their diplomatic missions as “embassies of the Sudanese people and their revolution”, according to the Information Ministry.

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