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Sudan’s PM survives ‘terror’ attack on motorcade in capital

Abdalla Hamdok tweeted that he was safe and in good shape.

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Sudanese policemen stand around vehicles that were part of Abdalla Hamdok’s motorcade (Marwan Ali/AP)

Sudanese policemen stand around vehicles that were part of Abdalla Hamdok’s motorcade (Marwan Ali/AP)

Sudanese policemen stand around vehicles that were part of Abdalla Hamdok’s motorcade (Marwan Ali/AP)

Sudan’s prime minister said he survived a “terror attack” after an explosion and gunfire targeted his motorcade in the capital Khartoum.

Abdalla Hamdok, a long-time economist, tweeted he was “safe and in good shape” following the explosion.

Sudanese state TV said Mr Hamdok had been heading to his office on Monday when the attack took place.

Mr Hamdok also tweeted a photo of himself smiling and seated at a large desk, while a TV behind him showed news coverage reporting he had survived.

The attack highlighted the fragility of Sudan’s transition to civilian rule, almost a year after pro-democracy protesters forced the military to remove autocratic President Omar al-Bashir from power and replace him with a joint military-civilian government, which has promised to hold elections in three years.

However, Sudan’s generals remain the de facto rulers of the country and have shown little willingness to hand over power to civilians.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The country’s top prosecutor, Taj al-Ser Ali al-Hebr, said in a statement that prosecutors have embarked on their investigation into the “professionally plotted” attack.

A statement from the prime minister’s office said the attackers used explosives and firearms, and that a security officer was lightly wounded.

The statement was read by Faisal Saleh, Sudan’s information minister and interim government spokesman.

He said the convoy was hit near the Kober Bridge.

Sudan Attack
Sudanese policemen at the scene of the attack (Marwan Ali/AP)

Footage posted online showed two white, Japanese-made SUVs typically used by Sudan’s top officials parked on a street, damaged with its widows broken.

Another vehicle was badly damaged in the blast. Several dozen people were seen at the site of the attack, chanting: “With our blood and soul, we redeem you, Hamdok.”

The protest movement that led the uprising against Mr al-Bashir called the blast a “terrorist attack”.

The statement by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change called on people to take to the streets to “show our unity and cohesion … and protect the transitional authority”.

Youth activists face arrest and intimidation and are still reeling from a ferocious crackdown by security forces last summer that broke up their sit-in outside the military’s headquarters and killed dozens.

After months of negotiations, the military and the pro-democracy movement reached a power-sharing deal in August, at which point Mr Hamdok took office.

The deal established a joint military-civilian, 11-member sovereign council to govern Sudan for the next three years.

Prominent activist Khalid Omar, secretary general of the Sudanese Congress Party, said the attempt on Mr Hamdok’s life was a “new chapter in the conspiracy against the Sudanese revolution”.

Sudan Attack
The PM described the incident as a terror attack (Marwan Ali/AP)

The US Embassy in Sudan tweeted: “We continue to support Sudan’s civilian led transitional government and stand in solidarity with the Sudanese people”.

Irfan Siddiq, the British ambassador in Khartoum, said the blast “is a deeply worrying event must be investigated fully”.

He tweeted that the Sudanese prime minister’s office had confirmed Mr Hamdok and his team “are all fine, with no injuries.”

Monday’s blast came less than two months after an armed revolt from within Sudan’s security forces shut down the capital’s airport and left at least two people dead.

The tense stand-off between the armed forces and rogue intelligence officers paralysed street life in several parts of Khartoum, along with another western city.

In 1989, Mr al-Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed military coup and imposed a strict interpretation of religion on its citizens, limiting personal freedoms.

PA