By Henry D Gombya
There has been a military coup in Egypt following peaceful but at times violent protests against the one-year old regime of President Mohammed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood leader who became the country’s first democratically-elected president around this time last year, is now under military detention as well as several of his ministers.
On Tuesday the army had given President Morsi an ultimatum to listen to the demands of the opposition lest the army steps in with its own ideas. The ultimatum was ignored by Dr Morsi who insisted he would follow his own plan to restore order to the country. Hours after its ultimatum passed, the Egyptian army moved into key areas of Cairo including the main Television Centre where they started monitoring programmes being beamed out to the country.
Tens of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters cheered wildly when the country army commander General Abdul Fatah Khalil al Sisi went on state TV to announce the army had finally brought down Dr Morsi’s government. The general announced there would be fresh general and parliamentary elections. Wire sources say President Morsi has been placed under detention at the Republican Guard Club along with the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party and his deputy. It is understood the army has also ordered the arrest of at least 300 members of the Brotherhood.
There are unconfirmed reports that Egyptian officials have placed an international travel ban on Dr Morsi and other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The army is involved in a show of force, fanning out across Cairo and taking control of the capital. A BBC correspondent in Cairo described seeing eight armoured personnel carriers heading for Cairo University in Giza, where one of the main pro-Morsi demonstrations was being held. At least 16 people were killed and about 200 wounded at the university when gunmen opened fire on protesters on Tuesday night.
Before the army’s ultimatum to President Morsi expired at 16:30 (15:30 GMT), he posted a Facebook message calling for a roadmap involving an interim coalition government. One of Mr Morsi’s aides, Issam al-Haddad, wrote on his Facebook page that he was “fully aware” his words might be the “last lines I get to post on this page”, adding that what was happening was a “military coup”.