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UN mission denounces arrest of Sudan leaders as ‘unacceptable’

The United Nations Mission to Sudan has issued an emphatic rebuke of what it calls an ongoing coup and attempts to undermine the northeast African nation’s fragile democratic transition.

The first reports about a possible military takeover began trickling out of Sudan before dawn Monday. By mid-morning, the information ministry confirmed that the prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, had been arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. Several senior government figures were also detained, the ministry said in a Facebook post. It said their whereabouts were unknown.

“The reported detentions of the prime minister, government officials and politicians are unacceptable,” says the recently formed UN political mission, which has a mandate to assist the country’s political transition and protect human rights.

The mission calls on Sudan’s security forces “to immediately release those who have been unlawfully detained or placed under house arrest” and urges all parties to “exercise utmost restraint.”

Diplomats have joined in a chorus of concern over the events that have rocked Sudan, as Sudanese security forces detained senior government officials in undisclosed locations and thousands flooded the street in protest, two years after mass demonstrations helped topple former autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

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