Sudan ups drive to remove Bashir loyalists

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Sudan’s ruling council will step up the drive to remove former president Omar al-Bashir loyalists, a day after the prime minister of the transitional government escaped an assassination attempt.

A branch of Sudan’s security services linked to Bashir will be brought under control of the civilian government and a committee tasked with dismantling the old regime will be given additional powers, sovereign council spokesman Mohamed al-Faki said in a statement.

Authorities launched an investigation into Monday’s assassination attempt, when a blast targeted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s convoy en route to work.

They have not said who was behind it, but reasserting Bashir loyalists will be firmly dealt with, they suggested possible links with old regime supporters trying to disrupt a democratic transition.

Hamdok heads a government of technocrats serving under a 39-month power-sharing deal between civilian groups and the military struck after Bashir was overthrown last April.

As part of efforts to disempower Bashir supporters, the “dismantling” committee moved to disband the former ruling party and dismiss senior officials at banks and embassies.

Some officers at the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) were dismissed and the agency name changed to the General Intelligence Service (GIS).

Faki said part of the GIS operating in Sudan would fall under the interior ministry.

In mid-January, armed security agents linked to Bashir fought soldiers in Khartoum, after a dispute linked to severance packages.