Sudanese authorities said they had foiled an attempted coup on Tuesday, accusing plotters loyal to ousted president Omar al-Bashir of a failed bid to derail the revolution that removed him from power in 2019 and ushered in a transition to democracy.
Sudan's military said 21 officers and a number of soldiers had been arrested in connection to the coup attempt, and a search continued for others involved. All locations affected by the attempt were under army control, it said.
The army has regained control of all locations taken during the attempt, said a statement from the army commander's media advisor Brigadier-General Altahir Abu Haja.
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 normalize 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.
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"What happened is an orchestrated coup by factions inside and outside the armed forces and this is an extension of the attempts by remnants since the fall of the former regime to abort the civilian democratic transition," Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said in a televised statement.
"This attempt was preceded by extensive preparations represented by lawlessness in the cities and the exploitation of the situation in the east of the country, attempts to close national roads and ports and block oil production."
The streets of the capital Khartoum appeared calm, with people moving around as usual and no unusual deployments of security forces, a witness said.
Early on Tuesday morning, a witness said military units loyal to the council had used tanks to close a bridge connecting Khartoum with Omdurman, just across the River Nile.
A government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said plotters had tried to take control of state radio in Omdurman.
The suspected instigators of the coup attempt had been arrested and were being interrogated, government spokesman Hamza Balol said on state TV, adding that the last pockets of rebellion at Al Shajara camp in south Khartoum were being dealt with.
Coups and conflicts
It was not the first challenge to the transitional authorities, who say they have foiled or detected previous coup attempts linked to factions loyal to Bashir, who was deposed by the army after months of protests against his rule.
In 2020, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok survived an assassination attempt targeting his convoy as he headed to work in Khartoum.
Sudan has gradually been welcomed into the international fold since the overthrow of Bashir, who ruled Sudan for almost 30 years and is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged atrocities committed in Darfur in the early 2000s.
Bashir is presently in prison in Khartoum, where he faces several trials.
The ICC's chief prosecutor held talks with Sudanese officials last month on accelerating steps to hand over those wanted over Darfur.
Sudan's economy has been in deep crisis since before Bashir's removal and the transitional government has undergone a reform program monitored by the International Monetary Fund.
Underlining Western support for the transitional authorities, the Paris Club of official creditors agreed in July to cancel $14 billion of Sudan's debt and to restructure the rest of the more than $23 billion it owed to the club's members.
But the economy is still struggling with rapid inflation and shortages of goods and services.