SUDANESE TROOPS END ARMED PROTEST IN KHARTOUM
▶ Clashes and gunfire in capital over restructured retirement payments
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”.