The State Department on Thursday ordered the departure of all non-emergency US government personnel from Sudan after a military coup against President Omar al-Bashir.
Those personnel remaining in the country “must obtain special authorization from the Sudanese government to travel outside of Khartoum,” according to the updated travel advisory. US citizens were warned not to travel to Sudan.
The State Department told Americans who remain in the northeastern African country 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. Detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country. Curfews and checkpoints on roads may be imposed with little or no warning,” the travel advisory said.
On Thursday, after three decades of rule, Bashir was arrested and forced out of power. He has been accused of war crimes and genocide for his brutal crackdown in Darfur, and largely peaceful protests calling for his removal recently escalated and became deadly.
Bashir himself had seized power in a coup in 1989.
In a televised statement, the Sudanese army on Thursday announced a two-year military council to oversee a transition of power and declared a three-month state of emergency. Activists have demanded that the military hand over power to a civilian government as soon as possible.
At a news conference, State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino was not definite about which course of action the United States supports in dealing with Bashir.
“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. However, when asked about prosecuting Bashir in the International Criminal Court, he sidestepped.
“I’m not going to get into specifics on how accountability is held today, but we continue to call for accountability,” he said.