U.S. envoy says Sudan’s military exercised ‘restraint’ at protests

WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) -The United States’ special envoy for the Horn of Africa said on Tuesday that the Sudanese military had shown “restraint” in its response to demonstrations on Saturday, which he said was a sign of potential for a return to power sharing with civilians.

Jeffrey Feltman briefed reporters on the fallout from the Oct. 25 military takeover in Sudan by phone from Washington, contradicting an earlier report that he had travelled to Sudan.

A medical group had said three protesters were shot dead https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sudanese-set-nationwide-protests-against-military-coup-2021-10-29 and 38 were injured by security forces as opponents of military rule took to the streets of Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman on Saturday.

Feltman said the toll was “far too many” but that “by and large … security services exercised restraint”, and demonstrators also stayed away from sensitive military locations, which reduced the potential for violence.

“I think that demonstrated an understanding by the Sudanese people themselves that they have to be careful and find a way back to the civilian-military partnership this transition requires,” Feltman said, repeating a U.S. call for military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to restore the civilian-led government.

Washington was “supportive of Sudanese solutions”, was calling for all detainees to be released, and for Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to be freed from house arrest and allowed to continue his work, Feltman said.

Burhan ousted Hamdok’s cabinet on Oct. 25 and put him under house arrest, prompting Western states to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Sudan.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday condemned the military takeover and the arrest of Sudan’s civilian leaders. The coup has derailed a transition meant to steer Sudan to democracy, with elections in 2023, after long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir was toppled in 2019.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington and by Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and David Holmes)

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