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SEPTEMBER 2020

Sudanese Transitional Military Council Shuts Down Violent Revolt By Former Security Officers

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Sudanese Transitional Military Council Shuts Down Violent Revolt By Former Security Officers

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On January 15th, a military coup was thwarted in Sudan, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s sovereign council said.

As a result of the violence that ensued, two soldiers died and four were injured.

This was the biggest confrontation between the old guard in the country and those who support the new administration, following President Omar al-Bashir’s resignation on April 11th, 2019.

Security agents, linked to al-Bashir took control of intelligence buildings in the country and attempted to overthrow Sudan’s sovereign council, but failed.

In a televised speech, al-Burhan said he would never allow a coup to take place.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent, Hiba Morgan, reporting directly from Khartoum said:

“After more than 15 hours of a standoff … the Sudanese armed forces said the situation has been resolved. It looks like the situation, for now, has been contained.”

Heavy gunfire began in Khartoum, after the agents, who were part of the former security service, rejected a financial compensation offered to them after their unit was disbanded.

Violence broke out at the Directorate of General Intelligence Service office, formerly known as the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

In a televised statement, Information Minister Faisal Mohamed Saleh said the gunmen were former employees upset at the terms they had been offered upon their dismissal. The gunmen were angry after being told to either retire or join the notorious Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.

Authorities had closed Sudan’s airspace for five hours as a precautionary measure after the start of the shooting.

“The events that occurred today are under control,” tweeted Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, a former World Bank economist. “We renew our confidence in the armed forces to contain the situation.”

Lieutenant-General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the military council and head of the RSF, said former Sudan intelligence chief Salah Gosh was behind the shootings.

“This is a coordinated plan by Salah Gosh and another member of the National Congress party including some generals from intelligence service,” he said. “The person behind this shooting today is Salah Gosh. He has many generals active within the security sector with an aim to create confusion and fighting.”

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

General elections are scheduled to be held in Sudan in late 2022 as part of the transition to democracy deal made in July and August 2019. The elections should see a vote for President and a Sudanese national legislative body or bodies, or equivalent institutions, to be defined during the transitional period.

Article 19 of the August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration forbids “the chairman and members of the Sovereignty Council and ministers, governors of provinces, or heads of regions” from “[running] in the public elections” planned for late 2022.

Article 38.(c)(iv) of the declaration states that the chair and members of the Elections Commission are to be appointed by the Sovereignty Council in consultation with the Cabinet.

Initially, when Omar al-Bashir was taken down by the Sudanese military, a junta took control of the country, but people continued their protests, and would not relent until reforms were introduced.

Protests continued until November 2019, when Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the junta met with protest leaders.

He promised a civilian government after meetings with the opposition and announced the release of political detainees. But the military council ignored the protester’s demands for civilian presence in the ruling council and for Bashir’s aides to be held accountable.

Sudan’s transitional government also wants to revive the economy by reducing military spending. Restructuring of the once-feared NISS was a primary demand of the protest movement that removed al-Bashir from power.

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