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PM Abdalla Hamdok, wife released under 'heavy guard' after Sudan coup

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PM Abdalla Hamdok, wife released under 'heavy guard' after Sudan coup
Protesters have taken to the streets of Sudan following Monday's military coup. Photo courtesy of Sudanese Professionals Association/Facebook

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife have been released following their arrests on Monday by the military in a coup.

The prime minister returned to his home in the capital Khartoum Tuesday night though "a number of ministers and political leaders" remain detained in unknown locations, his office said in a statement.

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He and his wife remain under "heavy guard," it said.

Hamdok was released a day after his arrest early Monday by the military, which then imposed a state of emergency amid protests demanding the prime minister's release and dissolved the governing Transitional Sovereignty Council, attracting the condemnation of world leaders.

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The U.S. State Department confirmed the prime minister's release in a statement, saying Secretary of State Antony Blinken had spoken to the African head of state by phone while reiterating the United States' call for the military to release all detained civilian leaders.

Blinken also expressed "his deep concern" about the military takeover and emphasized U.S. support for "the civilian-led transition to democracy."

The United States already announced on Monday the pausing of $700 million in emergency aid for the country as it was intended to support the country's democratic transition.

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Hamdok's release came after his office demanded it, and called on the public to continue protesting despite military forces using live ammunition in confrontations.

At least four people have been confirmed dead by the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, a main group of the pro-democracy Sudanese Professionals Association, and more than 80 others have been injured.

Several unions in the country have called for people to go on strike and to commit to civil disobedience.

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The United Nations held an emergency meeting on Sudan on Tuesday, and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres called for the immediate release of all those detained and a de-escalation in tensions in support of civilian rule of the country.

"The civilian-military partnership is critical and it needs to be re-established with which it was established," he said during a press conference. "And I think the Sudanese people have shown very clearly their intense desire for reform and democracy."

Hamdok has led the transitional council, which consists of six civilians and five military officers, following the April 2019 ousting of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir.

As prime minister, Hamdok is to lead the council for 39 months until elections are held, and the coup occurred amid growing conflicts between the two sides of the council.

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