Update: It wasn't clear early Monday whether military forces surrounding the home of the Sudanese prime minister were protecting him or going after him, but the nation's Ministry of Information and Hamdok's economic adviser now say the PM has been arrested and whisked away in what CNN labels "events that [bear] the hallmarks of an apparent coup." The ministry's statement, per Al Jazeera: "After he refused to be a part of the coup, a force from the army detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and took him to an unidentified location." Hamdok's wife was also reportedly arrested. US envoy Jeffrey Feltman notes the US is "deeply alarmed" at this "utterly unacceptable" development if true, and that it puts aid from the US at risk, per Axios. Our original story from earlier Monday follows:
Military forces detained at least five senior Sudanese government figures on Monday, officials said, as the country's main pro-democracy group called on people to take to the streets to counter an apparent military coup. The Sudanese Professionals' Association, a group leading demands for a transition to democracy, also said there were internet and phone signal outages across the country, the AP reports. Images from the scene also appear to show the military surrounding the Khartoum home of Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, though CNN reports it's not clear whether he's under house arrest or being protected by the military.
A possible takeover by the military would be a major setback for Sudan, which has grappled with a transition to democracy since long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled by mass protests. Monday's arrests come after weeks of rising tensions between Sudan's civilian and military leaders. A failed coup attempt in September fractured the country along old lines, pitting more-conservative Islamists who want a military government against those who toppled al-Bashir more than two years ago in mass protests. In recent days, both camps have taken to the street in demonstrations. The US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, held meetings with Sudanese military and civilian leaders Saturday and Sunday in efforts to resolve the dispute.
The arrests of the five government figures were confirmed by two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media. The officials said the detained government members include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh; Information Minister Hamza Baloul; Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, member of the country's ruling transitional body, known as The Sovereign Council; Faisal Mohammed Saleh, a media adviser to the PM; and Ayman Khalid, governor of the state containing the capital, Khartoum. NetBlocks, a group which tracks disruptions across the internet, said the significant disruptions it has seen in Sudan appear "consistent with an internet shutdown." (Read more Sudan stories.)