Sudan: airspace reopened as rebellion crushed

Sudan: airspace reopened as rebellion crushed
Sudan: airspace reopened as rebellion crushed

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Five people, including two soldiers, were killed in the short-lived uprising by Sudan’s long-feared security agency

Sudan’s leadership on Wednesday said five people had been killed as it defeated a rebellion from security agents

Airspace over Sudan was closed for hours on Tuesday night and into Wednesday as security agents closely linked to ousted leader Omar Al Bashir launched an attempt to force the transitional government to change planned severance pay reforms.

General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the country’s ruling transitional council, announced that “life has returned to normal,” following the tense stand-off between the armed forces and rogue intelligence officers who had fired shots in the air to demand better severance benefits.

"We will not allow any coup against the Sudanese revolution," said the chairman of Sudan's ruling council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, speaking alongside the chief of staff.

The sounds of gunshots and videos circulating on social media of the rebellion shocked Khartoum, which has remained largely peaceful as the transitional government works slowly toward elections.

Late on Tuesday evening, security agents from the Directorate of General Intelligence Service, formerly known as the National Intelligence and Security Service (Niss), began a rebellion over the amount of money alloted for taking retirement, Government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh said.

Troops from the regular army and from the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) later stormed the bases amid heavy gunfire. Two of their officers and three others died, Sudan's Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Osman Mohamed al-Hassan said.

Doctors close to the protest movement that led to Bashir's ouster said that three civilians, all from the same family, were killed by bullets near a Niss base in south Khartoum. A teenager was wounded.

"We decided to storm the bases to end this rebellion... We have now taken control of these bases," he said.

All streets leading to the two bases were cordoned off, causing traffic jams, witnesses said.

The Niss played a part in a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters throughout the demonstrations which eventually led to the ouster of Al Bashir. Twenty-nine Niss agents were sentenced to death by a Sudanese court in December for the torture and killing of protester Ahmed al-Kheir in February 2019.

Mr Burhan's deputy, RSF commander General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has blamed the former Niss chief for the rebellion.

"What happened today is a plan by Salah Gosh and some other officers," Gen Daglao told reporters in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.

Mr Gosh, a key figure in Bashir's regime, stepped down days after the veteran leader was toppled. His whereabouts are unknown.

Khartoum International Airport reopened on Wednesday after the authorities shut it when the shooting erupted. One of the Niss bases lies close to the airport.

Despite the opening of airspace by the Sudanese, all flights to Sudan from neighbouring Egypt remained suspended over security concerns, airport authorities said.

Production also resumed at two oil fields in the war-torn western region of Darfur after government forces retook them, Oil Minister Adel Ibrahim told state television.

He said some "rebel members" of Niss had taken control of the Sufian and Hadid fields in East Darfur state but had now surrendered to government forces.

Updated: January 15, 2020 05:48 PM

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