Protests turn deadly
“Sadly though, this believer’s hopes are being shattered,” Open Doors Africa representative said. “Distressing news out of Sudan this morning that since the military seized power from the transitional government yesterday, they have killed at least three people and wounded 80 as street protests broke out against the takeover.”
Reportedly, thousands of protesters poured into the streets of the capital city, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman.
The leader of the takeover, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, dissolved the military-civilian Sovereign Council that had been set up to guide the country toward democracy following the overthrow of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir two years ago.
Al-Burhan, who also heads the power-sharing governing council, declared a state of emergency across the country, saying the armed forces needed to ensure safety but promised to hold elections in July 2023 and hand over control to an elected civilian government then.
“What the country is going through now is a real threat and danger to the dreams of the youth and the hopes of the nation,” he announced to the country. Prime Minister Hamdok has been moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, the information ministry said.
‘Grave consequences’ for the church
The coup comes two years after the ousting of longtime dictator Hassan al Bashir and only a year after the civilian-led government ended 30 years of Islamic law, including the death penalty and prosecution for apostasy (leaving Islam to convert to another religion).
Open Doors’ director for the work in East Africa, Yasin A, said the news of the takeover was very disturbing. “The country has come a long way since Bashir’s rule was ended. The risk of a military takeover will be a step backwards with potentially grave consequences for the church.”
The Associated Press reports that the 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 the previous dictator Hassan al-Bashir more than two years ago in mass protests.”
The international community has been quick to respond to the takeover. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced the military takeover and called for leaders to be freed: “I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan,” he said.
The U.S. embassy in Khartoum issued a statement saying: “We call on all actors who are disrupting Sudan’s transition to stand down and allow the civilian-led transitional government to continue its important work to achieve the goals of the revolution.”
The United Kingdom’s Africa minister Vicky Ford described the coup was an “unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people and their democratic transition.” She urged security forces to release Prime Minister Hamdok and other civilian leaders.
Open Doors’ Yasmin A. sent out an urgent request for prayer: “We call on Christians around the world to join us in praying for Sudan at this time.”