Former Sudan spy revolt quelled

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Armed ex-security agents linked to Sudan’s toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir fought soldiers in Khartoum for hours until government forces quelled the revolt, residents and a military source said.

The violence was the biggest confrontation to date between the old guard and supporters of the new administration, which helped topple Bashir after 30 years in power.

The former employees of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) shut two small oilfields in Darfur in protest at their severance packages, a government source told Reuters.

Late Tuesday, soldiers seized back control of buildings where ex-NISS agents hours earlier opened fire on government forces, a military source told Reuters.

The former NISS staff surrendered after negotiations, the source said.

Restructuring the once feared security apparatus blamed for suppressing dissent under Bashir was among key demands of the uprising that forced his removal.

Once dismissed by the new transitional government, many security agents returned to barracks without being disarmed after leaving ministries and streets they once controlled.

Residents said clashes broke out at noon between former security staff and forces loyal to the transitional government in a northern district of Khartoum where gunfire was heard for hours.

In a second location at the airport, ex-NISS staff seized a security building, which was then surrounded by government forces and where gunfire was also heard, witnesses said.
Four people suffered gunshot wounds and were in stable condition, a doctors’ committee linked to the civilian government said in a statement.

Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s most powerful paramilitary group, which supports the new government, said he would not consider Tuesday’s incident a coup attempt, such actions would not be tolerated.

“We will not accept any coup, we will not accept any illegal change. The only change will come from the Sudanese people,” he said before troops ended the revolt.

AIRSPACE CLOSED

Information Minister Faisal Mohamed Saleh said the gunmen were former employees angry at the terms offered on dismissal.

Authorities closed Sudan airspace for five hours as a precautionary measure after shooting started, a Civil Aviation Ministry spokesman said.

Dagalo said former Sudan intelligence chief Salah Gosh, a member of Bashir’s old ruling party, was behind the NISS unrest.

“This is a co-ordinated plan by Salah Gosh and another member of the National Congress party including generals from intelligence services,” he told a news conference in Juba.

“The person behind this shooting is Salah Gosh. He has many generals active in the security sector to create confusion and fighting.”



Gosh, believed to be in Egypt, could not be immediately reached for comment.