‘Utterly unacceptable’: World reacts to Sudan ‘coup’

Governments and human rights groups demand the immediate release of Sudanese civilian political leaders and condemn apparent coup attempt.

Sudanese security forces deploy in the capital Khartoum following arrests by the army of members of Sudan's government [AFP]

World leaders and human rights groups have condemned the detention of several high-ranking Sudanese officials in what appears to be a coup attempt, as a senior military official dissolved the government.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, a general who headed the Sovereign Council, a power-sharing ruling body, announced a state of emergency across the country and dissolved the council and the transitional government on Monday.

The country’s information ministry said al-Burhan has effectively staged a “military coup”.

Earlier, thousands of people poured into the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after security forces arrested members of the country’s cabinet, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and several pro-government party leaders.

The internet has been cut off, while roads and bridges in Khartoum have been blocked. The airport has also been closed and the headquarters of state television and radio were raided by security forces.

Here are reactions from around the world to Monday’s events:

United States

The United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman rejected the apparent military power grab as “utterly unacceptable”.

“The US is deeply alarmed at reports of a military take-over of the transitional government,” he said, just days after he visited the Sudanese capital. “This would contravene the Constitutional Declaration and the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people and is utterly unacceptable.

“As we have said repeatedly, any changes to the transitional government by force puts at risk US assistance.”

African Union

Sudan’s political leaders should be released and human rights respected, the African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a statement.

Faki said talks should resume between the military and the civilian wing of the transitional government.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate release of Sudan’s prime minister and all other officials.

“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan,” Guterres wrote on Twitter.

Volker Perthes, the UN’s special representative to Sudan, called the civilian leaders’ detention “unacceptable” and called for their immediate release.

Perthes “urged all parties to exercise utmost restraint. All parties must immediately return to dialogue and engage in good faith to restore the constitutional order”.

European Union

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned the detention of Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other cabinet members.

“We call on the security forces to immediately release those they have unlawfully detained,” Borrell said in a statement.

Borrell warned the right of peaceful protest must be respected, and violence and bloodshed avoided at all cost.

“The actions of the military represent a betrayal of the revolution, the transition, and the legitimate requests of the Sudanese people for peace, justice and economic development,” he said

Amnesty International

Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said people in Khartoum took to the streets in an attempt to safeguard the country’s transition to democracy.

“The people of Sudan are back in the street, to protect their democratic transition. Will the world stand shoulder to shoulder with them?” she said.


“Egypt calls on all parties in the brotherly nation of Sudan to exercise self-restraint and responsibility to prioritise the welfare of the country and national agreement,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.


“The Government of Ethiopia … calls on all parties for calm and de-escalation in the Sudan and to exert every effort towards a peaceful end to this crisis,” it said in a statement.

“Ethiopia reiterates the need for the respect of the sovereign aspirations of the people of the Sudan and the non-interference of external actors in the internal affairs of the Sudan.”

Saudi Arabia

“The kingdom is following with extreme concern the current events in Sudan,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“It calls for restraint, calm, de-escalation, and to preserve all the political and economic gains that have been achieved and all that aims to protect the unity of the ranks among all political components in brotherly Sudan.”


Germany condemned the power grab and called for an “immediate end” to the action.

“The news of a new coup attempt in Sudan is troubling,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement.

“I call on everyone in Sudan responsible for security and order to continue Sudan’s transition to democracy and to respect the will of the people. The attempted overthrow must come to an immediate end.”


French President Emmanuel Macron has added his voice to the growing global concern over the military coup underway in Sudan.

“France condemns in the strongest terms the attempted coup d’etat,” Macron tweeted.

Macron said France supports the transitional government that had been tasked with steering Sudan toward democratic elections. He also called for the “immediate release” of Sudan’s prime minister and other civilian leaders who have been detained.

United Kingdom

Britain said on Monday a military coup in Sudan was an “unacceptable betrayal” of the Sudanese people.

“Today’s military coup in Sudan is an unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people and their democratic transition. Security forces must release PM Hamdok and other civilian leaders, and those who do not respect right to protest without fear of violence will be held to account,” Britain’s Africa minister Vicky Ford said on Twitter.


China is urging a dialogue between Sudanese factions as an apparent military coup roils the nation.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China wanted all parties in Sudan “to resolve their differences through dialogue so as to maintain peace and stability of the country.”

He told reporters that China would continue to closely follow the turbulence in Sudan and “take necessary measures to ensure the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel there.”

The Arab League

The Arab League has released a statement of “deep concern” about the “military coup” in Sudan.

The Secretary-General of the 22-member bloc, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, urged all parties to “fully abide” by the constitutional declaration signed in August 2019.

“There are no problems that cannot be resolved without dialogue,” Aboul Gheit said.

“It is important to respect all decisions and agreements that were decided upon … refraining from any measures that would disrupt the transitional period and shake stability in Sudan,” the statement added.


In a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC) said it urged Sudanese leaders to “abide by the constitutional document and what has been agreed upon during the transition period.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has appealed to Sudan’s rulers to protect civilians amid the military takeover of the country, requesting unimpeded humanitarian access to help millions who have fled war over the years.

The aid group’s Sudan director, Will Carter, said changes to Sudan’s political leadership should not jeopardise authorities’ previous vows to ensure that humanitarian organisations can assist the 13 million people badly in need of aid across Sudan, including millions of displaced Sudanese.

“Sudan’s leaders have a collective opportunity and responsibility to break from a difficult past,” the statement said, exhorting the international community “not to abandon Sudan’s people in this hour of need.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies