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WASHINGTON: The United States said Monday it "strongly condemns" Sudan's military for its recent government takeover, and called for the immediate return to civilian rule and the release of the detained prime minister.

"The United States strongly condemns the actions of the Sudanese military forces," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, as he expressed grave concern about reports that security forces used live ammunition against protesters.

"We firmly reject the dissolution of the civilian-led transitional government and its associated institutions and call for their immediate restoration," Blinken said.

Sudan's armed forces detained the civilian leaders who have been heading the country's transition to full civilian rule following the April 2019 overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan military seizes power, dissolves transitional government

The top general then declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government, sparking swift condemnation from the United States, which has suspended aid to Sudan.

The UN demanded the Sudanese prime minister's "immediate release" and diplomats in New York told AFP the Security Council was expected to meet to discuss the crisis on Tuesday.

Crowds in the capital Khartoum protested the takeover. Three protesters were killed and about 80 people wounded when soldiers opened fire, according to the independent Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.

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