Sudan has suspended all inbound and outbound flights until October 30, the country’s civil aviation authority said Tuesday, following unrest due to a military coup.
“All incoming and outgoing flights from Khartoum Airport have been suspended until October 30 due to the situation in the country,” said Civil Aviation Authority Director General Ibrahim Adlan.
Following a military coup on Monday, armed forces detained the civilian leaders who have been heading the transition to full civilian rule following the April 2019 overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Detained leaders include Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanding his release on Tuesday.
The coup raised fears for the fate of Hamdok, but Sudan’s top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the premier was “at my home… in good health” and would be able to return to his own home “when the crisis is over”.
“Yes, we arrested ministers and politicians, but not all” of them, Burhan said at a news conference.
His comments suggested Hamdok was not among those arrested and detained but, shortly after, the Information Ministry, which remains loyal to the prime minister, relayed a statement from his office demanding his immediate release.
The statement appealed for the “liberation of everyone” arrested on Monday along with Hamdok. This included his wife, several of his ministers, and civilian members of the military-civilian council that was in charge of the country’s transition to full civilian rule.
Clashes erupted in the capital Khartoum, with the information ministry saying soldiers “fired live bullets on protesters rejecting the military coup outside the army headquarters”.
Three protesters were killed and about 80 people wounded, according to the independent Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.
Burhan’s declaration of a state of emergency and dissolution of the government provoked an immediate international backlash.
The United States, a key backer of Sudan’s transition, strongly condemned the military’s actions and suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.
Sudan risks “going back into a period of being shunned by the rest of the world” and not having the international financial and development assistance” it badly needs, said Alex de Waal, a veteran expert on Sudan who is executive director of the World Peace Foundation.
Hamdok’s government earlier this year won international debt forgiveness, after the US rescinded its state sponsor of terror designation against the country.
Announcing the state of emergency on Monday, Burhan said the army took action “to rectify the revolution’s course”.
Sudan’s ambassadors to Belgium, France and Switzerland did not see it that way. They announced their defection on Tuesday.
They declared their diplomatic missions as “embassies of the Sudanese people and their revolution”, according to the Information Ministry.
Despite the previous day’s deadly violence, protesters remained on the streets of Khartoum overnight and into Tuesday.
Shops around the capital were shuttered following calls for a campaign of civil disobedience.
“We will only leave when the civilian government is restored,” said 32-year-old demonstrator Hisham al-Amin.