Abdalla Hamdok, the deposed prime minister of Sudan, has been allowed to return home, according to his office, a day after the country’s military detained him after seizing power in a coup.
The release of Hamdok and his wife on Tuesday followed international condemnation of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s power grab. The United States had said it would suspend aid, while the European Union had threatened to do the same, Al Jazeera reported.
Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, had also demanded Hamdok’s immediate release as he urged world powers to unite to confront what he called a recent “epidemic of coups d’etat”.
The statement by Hamdok’s office said the deposed prime minister and his wife were under “heavy security” at their home in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and that other civilian officials arrested on the day of the coup remained in detention, their locations unknown.
The takeover came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of Sudan’s transition to democracy.
Al- Burhan was supposed to hand the leadership of the Sovereign Council that runs the country to a civilian next month – a step that would have decreased the military’s hold on power.
But the coup has threatened to derail Sudan’s transitional process, which has progressed in fits and starts since the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising two years ago.
On Tuesday, pro-democracy demonstrators returned to the streets, blocking roads in the capital with makeshift barricades and burning tires. Troops had fired on crowds a day earlier, killing four protesters, according to doctors.
PM office speaks out
Hamdok’s office said that the prime minister had been detained as part of the military operation, along with several others.
The office responded to Hamdok’s detention in a statement from the Information Ministry, which appealed for the “liberation of everyone” arrested on Monday.
This included Hamdok’s wife, several of his ministers and civilian members of the council that had been in charge of the country’s transition to full civilian rule.
The office said that Hamdok is still “the executive authority recognized by the Sudanese people and the world.”