Sudanese authorities said they had foiled an attempted coup on Tuesday, accusing loyalists of ousted president Omar al-Bashir of trying to reverse a transition towards democracy since he was overthrown in 2019.
In a brief statement on state TV, the army said the situation was under control. The streets of the capital Khartoum appeared calm, with people moving around as usual and no unusual deployments of security forces, a witness said.
The coup attempt points to the difficult path facing a government that has reoriented Sudan since 2019, winning Western debt relief and taking steps to normalise ties with Israel, while battling a severe economic crisis and facing down challenges from those still loyal to Bashir.
A ruling body known as the Sovereign Council has run Sudan under a fragile power-sharing deal between the military and civilians since the overthrow of Bashir, an Islamist shunned by the West who presided over Sudan for nearly three decades.
Elections are expected in 2024.
A government spokesman said remnants of Bashir’s government had participated in the coup attempt.
“We assure the Sudanese people that the situation is under complete control as the civilian and military organizers of the coup attempt have been arrested, and they are being interrogated now,” spokesman Hamza Balol said on state TV.
The authorities continued to pursue Bashir loyalists who had taken part, he said.
Early on Tuesday morning, a witness said military units loyal to the council had used tanks to close a bridge connecting Khartoum with nearby Omdurman, just across the River Nile.
A government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the coup attempt had involved an effort to take control of state radio in Omdurman.
One of Sudan’s largest political parties, the Umma Party, called for citizens to resist the coup attempt, which it described as “a continuation of desperate attempts to abort our glorious revolution from officers loyal to the former regime.”
Bashir is presently in prison in Khartoum, where he faces several trials.