KHARTOUM: Sudan's top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan defended the army's seizure of power on Tuesday, saying he had ousted the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to avoid civil war.
Speaking at his first news conference since he announced the takeover on Monday, Burhan accused politicians of incitement against the armed forces. He said Hamdok was confined in his own home and had not been harmed.
Soldiers arrested the prime minister and other members of his cabinet on Monday, hours before Burhan appeared on TV to announce the dissolution of the Sovereign Council, a body set up to share power between the military and civilians.
Monday's military takeover brought a halt to Sudan's transition to democracy two years after a popular uprising toppled long-serving autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
An official at the health ministry said seven people were killed in clashes between protesters and the security forces on Monday. On Tuesday, life was halted in Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman across the Nile, with shops shut and plumes of smoke rising from where protesters were burning tyres.
Burhan said the military's action did not amount to a coup, as the army was trying to rectify the path of the political transition.
Western countries have denounced the coup, called for the detained cabinet ministers to be freed, and said they will cut off aid if the military does not restore power sharing with civilians.