SU­DANESE TROOPS END ARMED PROTEST IN KHAR­TOUM

▶ Clashes and gun­fire in cap­i­tal over re­struc­tured re­tire­ment pay­ments

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES HAINES-YOUNG

Heavy gun­fire broke out in Su­dan’s cap­i­tal yes­ter­day as sev­eral agents of the se­cu­rity agency launched a re­bel­lion against a re­struc­tur­ing plan, prompt­ing a clo­sure of the in­ter­na­tional air­port.

A teenager was wounded when shots were fired at some bases of the Direc­torate of Gen­eral In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice, for­merly known as the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence and Se­cu­rity Ser­vice, the se­cu­rity arm of long­time pres­i­dent Omar Al Bashir.

Niss agents were at the fore­front of a crack­down against pro­test­ers dur­ing a na­tion­wide anti-Al Bashir up­ris­ing that erupted in De­cem­ber 2018 and fi­nally led to his re­moval by the army in April.

Se­cu­rity forces con­tained the armed protest from within the se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus.

Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion Faisal Mo­hamed Salah had ear­lier called on the “re­bel­lious forces” to hand over their weapons.

Wit­nesses re­ported that gun­fire broke out at the agency’s bases in Khar­toum North and an­other area of the city.

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

The AFP news agency said sev­eral ve­hi­cles car­ry­ing sol­diers and troops from the coun­try’s Rapid Sup­port Forces had headed to­wards the bases.

“Troops from op­er­at­ing cen­tres of the in­tel­li­gence started a re­bel­lion in some parts of the cap­i­tal,” Mr Saleh said.

He said some troops had gone out on the streets, set up bar­ri­cades and fired into the air. “This is be­cause those troops re­jected the amount of money they got for their re­tire­ment,” Mr Saleh said.

“In the process of re­struc­tur­ing Niss there are some mem­bers who re­jected the fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion of­fered for re­tire­ment,” the ser­vice said.

Doc­tors close to the protest move­ment that led to Mr Al Bashir’s fall said a 15-year-old boy was wounded by gun­fire.

“Ne­go­ti­a­tions are now on to solve the is­sue as they have fi­nan­cial de­mands,” a se­cu­rity source said.

Au­thor­i­ties closed the cap­i­tal’s air­port, the civil avi­a­tion author­ity said.

“Khar­toum air­port has been closed for five hours un­til 8pm lo­cal time for se­cu­rity rea­sons,” spokesman Ab­del­hafiz Ab­del­rahim said.

Video on so­cial me­dia showed a heavy se­cu­rity force pres­ence in some ar­eas of Khar­toum.

Su­dan is in a tran­si­tion pe­riod af­ter an up­ris­ing last sum­mer de­posed Mr Al Bashir. Since then, the coun­try has been led by a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment led by tech­no­crat Prime Min­is­ter Ab­dal­lah Ham­dok and a mil­i­tary coun­cil.

Dr An­war Gar­gash, UAE Min­is­ter of State for For­eign Af­fairs, has been in Su­dan this week and met with the pres­i­dent, vice pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter

Yes­ter­day, he wrote on Twit­ter: “Our re­la­tion­ship with Su­dan is his­toric. We are work­ing to­wards build­ing a mod­ern re­la­tion­ship and var­ied part­ner­ship.”

The Su­danese Pro­fes­sion­als Associatio­n, the main or­gan­i­sa­tion be­hind the protest move­ment that ousted Mr Al Bashir, urged peo­ple to stay in­doors un­til the dis­tur­bance was set­tled.

It said it re­jected “any at­tempt to fo­ment chaos, in­tim­i­date cit­i­zens and use weapons”. It called on all Su­danese and for­eign­ers to steer clear of all mil­i­tary zones “in an­tic­i­pa­tion of armed clashes”.

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