Non-Emergency U.S. Personnel Ordered out of Sudan

The State Department on Thursday ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel to leave Sudan after the country experienced a military coup against long-time president Omar al-Bashir.

The updated travel advisory further said that those personnel remaining in the country “must obtain special authorization from the Sudanese government to travel outside of Khartoum,” while U.S. citizens were told not to travel to the northeastern African country.  

Those who are already there were advised by the State Department to shelter in place.

“There is a national state of emergency in effect across Sudan, which gives security forces greater arrest and incarceration powers. Security forces have enhanced authority to detain and arrest anybody they deem to be undermining public order, including protestors or those suspected of supporting the protests,” the travel advisory said.

“Detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country. Curfews and checkpoints on roads may be imposed with little or no warning,” it added.  

Bashir, who had been in power for three decades after seizing it in a 1989 coup, was arrested Thursday and removed from power. He has been accused of war crimes and genocide for his brutal crackdown in Darfur.

The Sudanese military said in a televised statement Thursday that a two-year military council would be formed to oversee a transition of power and declared a three-month state of emergency. Activists are calling on the military to transfer power to a civilian government.

State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino did not clearly indicate which course of action the U.S. would back in dealing with the ousted Sudanese president.

“The United States continues to call for those responsible for the horrific crimes that were committed in Darfur to be held accountable for those actions,” Palladino said during a news conference. “I’m not going to get into specifics on how accountability is held today, but we continue to call for accountability,” he said, responding to a question about prosecuting Bashir in the International Criminal Court.

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