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US suspends economic aid to Sudan after coup

Washington : The US has suspended $700 million in economic aid to Sudan after the military forces arrested civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and declared a coup in the North African nation.

“The US strongly condemns the actions of the Sudanese military forces. We firmly reject the dissolution of the civilian-led transitional government and its associated institutions and call for their immediate restoration,” the State Department announced late Monday.

“The arrest of Prime Minister Hamdok and other civilian leaders is unacceptable. The military forces must ensure their safety and release them immediately. These actions have the potential to derail the country’s transition to democracy and are a betrayal of Sudan’s peaceful revolution.”

The Department went on to say that in the wake of these developments, “the US is immediately pausing the delivery of $700 million in emergency Economic Support Funds to Sudan, which were intended to support the country’s democratic transition, while we evaluate next steps”.

In response to the continued protests across Sudan against the coup, the State Department said “the US strongly supports the right of the Sudanese people to assemble peacefully in support of democracy”.

“We are gravely concerned by reports that Sudanese security forces have used live ammunition against peaceful protesters. Security officials should immediately cease the use of violence against peaceful protesters. We also urge the restoration of Internet services,” it added.

Following the arrest of Hamdok, members of the Transitional Sovereignty Council’s civilian component, and several other Ministers earlier on Monday, internet services were suspended in capital Khartoum, while phone lines were also down.

The office of the Prime Minister said Hamdok and his wife were taken an unknown place.

The coup and a state of emergency was declared by Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Monday. He also dissolved the transitional sovereign council, the government and relieved of all state Governors of their post.

Addressing the nation in a live broadcast, Al-Burhan said that the division among partners in the transitional government prompted the military intervention to prevent the country from chaos, Xinhua news agency.

He expressed commitment to the constitutional document but announced suspension of the items relating to the coalition with the Freedom and Change Alliance, the civilian component in the ruling coalition that accused Al-Burhan of carrying out a military coup.

Meanwhile, street demonstrations rejecting the military intervention were continuing in Khartoum, despite army retaliation.

According to a BBC report, at least three people have died and more than 80 others were injured.

Demonstrators have blocked roads with piles of bricks and burning tyres.

The city’s airport is closed and international flights are suspended.

Besides the US, the UK, EU, UN and African Union, of which Sudan is a member, have also condemned the coup and demanded the immediate release of the civilian leaders.

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