The Biden administration has suspended $ 700 million in planned aid for Sudan and condemned members of the Sudanese army involved in a coup that toppled the country’s civilian-led transitional government.
The Sudanese army arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials, sparking numerous protests against the takeover. Military forces opened fire on some of the protesters, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more, according to the Sudanese Medical Committee.
The State Department said it was “immediately suspending” emergency funds, which would have supported Sudan’s transition to democratic government. Spokesman Ned Price said further aid could also be at risk if military leaders do not turn the tide and restore civilian government.
“We strongly reject the dissolution of the civilian-led transitional government and its associated institutions and call for their immediate restoration. The arrest of Prime Minister Hamdok and other civilian leaders is unacceptable, ”Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement. “The military forces must ensure their safety and release them immediately. These actions have the potential to derail the country’s transition to democracy and constitute a betrayal of Sudan’s peaceful revolution.
The military coup drew many condemnations from the international community, including the United Nations and the European Union. The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting for Tuesday afternoon.
Blinken added that the Biden administration was “gravely concerned” by reports of violence against protesters.
“We are gravely concerned at reports that the Sudanese security forces used live ammunition against peaceful protesters,” he said. “Security officials should immediately stop using violence against peaceful protesters. We also call for the restoration of Internet services. “
The takeover took place just weeks before the military transferred control from the Sovereign Council of Sudan to civilian leaders. General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, Sudan’s top military official, announced he was dissolving the council due to internal political strife.
The coup came about two years after civil protests forced the overthrow of longtime Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir.
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“The detention of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several ministers, the declaration of a state of emergency, the shutdown of the Internet and telecommunications services and the military takeover of the public media are an affront to the democratic aspirations of the people. Sudanese and undermine Sudan’s transition to democratic governance led by civilians after 30 years of kleptocracy and violent dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir, ”said Samantha Power, administration of the United States Agency for International Development.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.