Sudanese military leaders have accused civilian politicians of opening the door to a coup attempt by neglecting public welfare while consumed by internal squabbles.
Under an August 2019 power-sharing deal in the wake of the overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir, Sudan is ruled by a joint military and civilian body known as the sovereign council that is tasked with overseeing a transition to full civilian rule.
Military authorities said on Monday they had detained 21 officers who had attempted to take power in the early hours of the day.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said there were still “no answers as to what those who were behind the coup said during the interrogations”.
However, the threat of a power grab appeared to have escalated the tensions between the military and civilian partners in Sudan’s transitional government, whose relationship has been fractious.
Speaking at a military graduation in Omdurman, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council, and his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, accused the civilian politicians of seeking personal gains and forgetting the aims of the revolution.
“Politicians are the main cause behind coups because they have neglected the average citizen … and are more concerned fighting over how they can stay in power,” Dagalo, widely known as Hemeti, was quoted as by the official news agency SUNA.
“This has created disenchantment among citizens,” the feared paramilitary chief added in an address to troops at a military camp west of Khartoum.
After the coup attempt, civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had reiterated calls to restructure the military and bring its business interests under civilian oversight, a key source of dispute, in a speech that did not emphasise military-civilian unity as he has done previously.
Political parties called on citizens to reject military rule and protect the revolution. Al-Burhan called such statements “unacceptable”.
“Who should they rise to protect the revolution against? From us, the military? We are the ones who are protecting it from them, the ones who want to steal it.”
Al-Burhan said the military was the group most interested in the transition to democracy and elections.
“They are occupied with fighting and yelling and are directing all their arrows at us,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s Morgan said the speeches highlighted the friction between the two sides.
“[The military leaders] blame politicians for the current situation of the country,” she said. “The spoke about the economy. They said that the politicians seem to be focused on getting power and not focusing on the issues that matter to civilians.
Both al-Burhan and Dagalo said they felt the armed forces were unappreciated.
“The military is met with humiliation and insults day and night, so how can there not be coups,” said Dagalo.