Sudan's top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has defended the army's seizure of power, 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, General Burhan accused politicians of incitement against the armed forces.

He said Mr Hamdok had not been harmed and had been brought to his own home.

"The prime minister was in his house. However, we were afraid that he'd be in danger so he has been placed with me at my home.

"The dangers we witnessed last week could have led the country into civil war," the general added.

Cabinet ministers had attended demonstrations last week to protest against the prospect of a military takeover.

Soldiers arrested the prime minister and other members of his cabinet yesterday, and hours later General Burhan appeared on television to announce the dissolution of the Sovereign Council, a body set up to share power between the military and civilians.

General Burhan accused politicians of incitement against the armed forces

The military takeover brought a halt to Sudan's transition to democracy two years after a popular uprising toppled long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

An official at the health ministry said seven people had been killed in clashes between protesters and the security forces yesterday.

Images on social media showed fresh street protests today in the cities of Atbara, Dongola, Elobeid and Port Sudan.

People chanted "Don't give your back to the army, the army won't protect you."

Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman across the River Nile were partly locked down, with shops shut and plumes of smoke rising from where protesters were burning tyres.

Calls for a general strike were played over mosque loudspeakers.

Streets and bridges were blocked by soldiers or protester barricades.

A blockade on a road in the capital Khartoum

General Burhan said the military's action did not amount to a coup, as the army had been trying to rectify the path of the political transition.

"We only wanted to correct the course to a transition. We had promised the people of Sudan and the entire world. We will protect this transition."

A a new government will be formed that will not contain any typical politicians, the general added.

The country's civil aviation authority has suspended all inbound and outbound flights until 30 October.

"All incoming and outgoing flights from Khartoum Airport have been suspended until October 30 due to the situation in the country," said Civil Aviation Authority Director General Ibrahim Adlan.

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.

Sudan, for decades a pariah under Bashir, has depended on Western aid to pull through an economic crisis in the two years since he was toppled.

Banks and cash machines were shut today, and mobile phone apps widely used for money transfers could not be accessed.

"We are paying the price for this crisis," a man in his 50s looking for medicine at one of the pharmacies where stocks have been running low said angrily.

"We can't work, we can't find bread, there are no services, no money."

In the western city of El Geneina, resident Adam Haroun said there was complete civil disobedience, with schools, stores and petrol stations closed.

Sudanese people erect barricades as they protest against the coup

Sudan has been ruled for most of its post-colonial history by military leaders who seized power in coups.

It had become a pariah to the West and was on a US terrorism blacklist under Bashir, who hosted Osama bin Laden in the 1990s and is wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes.

Since Bashir was toppled, the military shared power uneasily with civilians under a transition meant to lead to elections in 2023.

The country had been on edge since last month when a failed coup plot, blamed on Bashir supporters, unleashed recriminations between the military and civilians.