US condemns Sudan military coup, pauses $700M in aid

Sudan’s military arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials

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The Biden administration suspended $700 million in planned aid for Sudan and condemned members of Sudan’s military involved a coup that ousted the country’s civilian-led transitional government from power.

Sudan’s military arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials, prompting widespread demonstrations against the takeover. Military forces opened fire on some of the protesters, killing at least three and wounding dozens more, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Committee.

The State Department said it was "immediately pausing" the emergency funds, which would have supported Sudan’s transition to a democratic government. Spokesman Ned Price said further assistance could also be at risk if military leaders did not reverse course and restore the civilian government.

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters take to the streets to condemn a takeover by military officials in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday Oct. 25, 2021. Sudan’s military seized power Monday, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested the acting prime minister and other officials. (AP Photo/Ashraf Idris)

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters take to the streets to condemn a takeover by military officials in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday Oct. 25, 2021. Sudan’s military seized power Monday, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested the acting prime minister and other officials. (AP Photo/Ashraf Idris)

"We firmly reject the dissolution of the civilian-led transitional government and its associated institutions and call for their immediate restoration. The arrest of Prime Minister Hamdok and other civilian leaders is unacceptable," Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement. "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 military coup drew widespread condemnations from the international community, including the United Nations and the European Union. The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting for Tuesday afternoon.

KHARTOUM, SUDAN - OCTOBER 21: Demonstrators shout slogans as they gather to support current civilian government during a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

KHARTOUM, SUDAN - OCTOBER 21: Demonstrators shout slogans as they gather to support current civilian government during a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Blinken added the Biden administration was "gravely concerned" by reports of violence against protestors.

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

The takeover occurred just weeks before the military was slated to transfer control of Sudan’s Sovereign Council to the civilian leaders. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, Sudan’s top military official, announced he was dissolving the council due to political infighting.

Pro-democracy protesters flash the victory sign as they take to the streets to condemn a takeover by military officials, in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday Oct. 25, 2021. Sudan’s military seized power Monday, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested the acting prime minister and other officials. (AP Photo/Ashraf Idris)

Pro-democracy protesters flash the victory sign as they take to the streets to condemn a takeover by military officials, in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday Oct. 25, 2021. Sudan’s military seized power Monday, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested the acting prime minister and other officials. (AP Photo/Ashraf Idris)

The coup occurred roughly two years after civilian demonstrations forced the ouster of Sudan’s longtime dictator, Omar al-Bashir.

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"The detention of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several cabinet ministers, declaration of a state of emergency, shutting down of Internet and telecommunications services, and military takeover of state-run media are an affront to the democratic aspirations of the people of Sudan and undermine Sudan’s transition toward civilian-led democratic governance after 30 years of kleptocracy and violent dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir," United States Agency for International Development administration Samantha Power said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.