African Union suspends Sudan …following coup, threatens sanctions

The African Union (AU) has suspended Sudan’s participation in activities until the restoration of a civilian-led authority.

Earlier, the European Union (EU) had condemned the army for toppling Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok’s government.

The African Union on Wednesday suspended Sudan from all its activities until civilian rule is restored in the country.

The continent-wide bloc said it “strongly condemns the seizure of power,” branding it “unconstitutional.”

It said Sudan would be suspended from all AU activities “until the effective restoration of the civilian-led transitional authority.”

Sudanese General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had on Monday ordered the dissolution of the government and declared a state of emergency.

Since then, thousands of citizens have mounted protests, chanting “No to military rule.”

The AU suspended Sudan in June 2019 after pro-democracy protesters were gunned down outside army headquarters in Khartoum.

Membership was reinstated three months later after Hamdok announced the appointment of Sudan’s first cabinet since the ousting of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir.

Earlier, the EU also condemned the “unconstitutional change of government in Sudan,” saying it continued to recognise the transitional government.

The EU Delegation to Sudan made a joint statement that also included Switzerland and the so-called “troika” of countries involved in mediation — Norway, the US, and the UK.

It condemned the military’s actions, but welcomed the fact that coup leaders had allowed Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok to return to his residence.

Prime Minister Hamdok was detained Monday along with his ministers and civilian members of Sudan’s ruling council.

The statement demanded that signatories’ ambassadors be allowed to meet the prime minister and his cabinet, saying it recognised them as constitutional leaders.

The statement went on to address reports of security service using live ammunition and tear gas against protestors.

It spoke of “the importance to respect the fundamental right to demonstrate by all Sudanese citizens and the need to respect all other human rights of all citizens.”

“The security forces and other armed elements must refrain from violent attacks at all times, and peaceful protesters must be protected.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the coup a “catastrophic development” and condemned it “in the strongest possible terms.”

The prime minister and his wife were returned home “under close surveillance,” Hamdok’s office said Tuesday. However, other ministers and civilian leaders remain under full military arrest. -BBC

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