Sudan arrests senior intelligence officials linked to foiled coup plot
November 23, 2012 1 Comment
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Authorities in Sudan have announced the arrest of senior current and former intelligence officials over an alleged coup plot, which has reportedly been foiled. Spokesmen for the government of longtime Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Thursday that thirteen senior “military and civilian figures” had been arrested for “inciting chaos [...], targeting leaders [and] spreading [false] rumors” about the President’s health. Among them is Lieutenant General Salah Gosh, who directed Sudan’s National Security and Intelligence Services for a decade before stepping down in 2009 to become President al-Bashir’s Senior Security Adviser. Gosh was widely considered a key member of al-Bashir’s inner circle in Khartoum until April of 2011, when he was unexpectedly fired, allegedly for having raised criticisms of the President’s policies. Those arrested in the early hours of Thursday reportedly include Brigadier General Mohammed Ibrahim, a Field Commander in the Sudanese Army, and Major General Adil al-Tayeb, a senior military intelligence official. Reuters reports that witnesses in Khartoum saw several army tanks and dozens of armored vehicles speeding down a central street that links the capital with the Khartoum International Airport, shortly before midnight on Wednesday. However, reports from Khartoum this morning suggest that the city appears calm and traffic patterns are normal. The country’s Minster of Information, Ahmed Belal Osman, told local media that “the situation is now totally stable”. President al-Bashir, whose reign over the oil-producing African country began in 1989, has ruled Sudan with an iron fist, based largely on strong support in Sudanese military and intelligence circles. However, the country’s economy has been severely hit by South Sudan’s independence declaration last year, which was supported by nearly all Western countries. The newly independent nation now controls the majority of Sudan’s former oil reserves, thus dealing a fatal blow to the Sudanese government’s finances. The severe economic downturn has led to a near-unprecedented increase food prices, and fuel shortages have become commonplace. Many opposition figures have called for an uprising to overthrow al-Bashir. Southern Sudanese sources, however, denounced news of the alleged coup as a government ploy “to impose additional restrictions on public freedoms and for harassment”.