The military junta controlling Sudan announced on Tuesday it has foiled a coup attempt by “Bashir loyalists” – in other words, troops loyal to Omar al-Bashir, who was himself overthrown by a coup in 2019.
“What happened is an orchestrated coup by factions inside and outside the armed forces and this is an extension of the attempts by remnants since the fall of the former regime to abort the civilian democratic transition,” Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said in a televised statement on Tuesday.
“This attempt was preceded by extensive preparations represented by lawlessness in the cities and the exploitation of the situation in the east of the country, closing national roads and ports and blocking oil production,” Hamdok said.
Hamdok accused the plotters of making several previous attempts to destabilize the government – most notably an attempt to assassinate him in March 2020 – but he said that “for the first time, there are people who were arrested during their implementation of the coup.”
“All is under control. The revolution is victorious,” added Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, a member of the military and civilian council managing Sudan’s “transition to democracy.”
The Associated Press quoted an unnamed Sudanese military official who said an unspecified number of troops from the armored corps were behind the attempt and that they tried to take over several government institutions but were stopped in their tracks.”
A civilian source in the ruling council told Reuters the rebellious soldiers tried to take control of a state radio station in Omdurman, on the far side of the Nile from the capital city of Khartoum. The plan was thwarted when troops loyal to the transitional council used tanks to block the bridge from Khartoum to Omdurman.
Sudanese state media reported that all of the troops involved in the alleged coup attempt have been taken into custody.
President Omar al-Bashir, a brutal dictator in power since 1989, was deposed in April 2019 by military officers with the support of a popular uprising against his rule. The junta claimed it was taking power “with representation of the people to pave the way for Sudanese people to live in dignity.”
The junta promised elections would be held after a two-year “transitional period,” during which Sudan’s affairs would be administered by a military-civilian council. The most recent statements from the junta indicated that elections might be held in 2024, extending the “transitional period” to at least five years.
As for Bashir, he is currently imprisoned in Sudan, awaiting trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Darfur conflict. The interim government in August pledged to hand Bashir and other “wanted persons,” including his former interior minister and security chief, over to the ICC.