25 November 2012

Sudan: NCP Insider Says Coup Plot 'Charade' Targeting Dissidents

Photo: Arne Doornebal/ RNW
Army (file photo): Dozens of high-ranking army and security officials have been arrested for allegedly trying to sabotage the government.

Khartoum — A member of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has described the authorities' detention of a group of military and civilian Islamists on accusation of plotting to seize power as "a badly-acted charade" aiming to purge the army and the wider Islamist establishment of certain dissidents.

According to Al-Mu'iz Abdallah, a young affiliate of what is known as the current of reformists within the NCP, the so-called subversive attempt in which the authorities implicated a number of Islamist elements from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), the army, the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF), and even within the NCP was nothing but a badly-acted charade.

Its aim, claimed the dissident member in an interview with Turkey's Anadol news agency on Sunday, was to get rid of popular Islamists within the army while also warning disenfranchised civilian Islamists who are flirting with dissent.

Sudanese authorities announced on Thursday, 22 November, that 13 individuals including former NISS chief Salah Gosh, Brigadier General Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Galil "Wad Ibrahim" from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and Major General Adil Al-Tayeb from the NISS have been arrested on suspicion of planning a "subversive attempt" that security authorities allegedly foiled earlier on the same day.

But multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that many others have been arrested in connection to the putative putsch, mainly from a group of hard-line Islamists widely known as "Al-Sae'ohoon"

The group of erstwhile pro-government Mujahdeen who fought in the "holy" war against South Sudan have been vocal recently in their criticism of the NCP leadership, demanding reforms, tougher military stances and a return to the good old days of strict adherence to the Islamic principles that they accuse the NCP of swerving from.

To prove his claim that the coup was a false allegation, the young NCP member pointed to the inconsistency in what he described as the fact that Sudan's President and NCP chairman, Omer Al-Bashir, privately told a member Al-Sae'ohoon in the past that "Wad Ibrahim" previously contributed to thwarting coup attempts by Salah Gosh with whom he is now accused of plotting a coup.

Abdallah said that NCP reformists and the "Mujahdeen" are demanding that the reasons that led a group of military Islamists to attempt a seizure of power be taken into consideration if the charge is true.

He pointed out that the "Mujahdeen" previously submitted a memo to the government calling for the sacking of defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein and reforming the military establishment.

Another memo released by Al-Sae'ohoon i.e Mujahdeen in response to Thursday's arrests blasted the defense minister saying he bears responsibility for army failures vis a vis South Sudan, the rebel Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) and the airstrikes carried out by Israel inside the country, including the one that recently targeted a weapons factory in Khartoum.

They went on to say that Hussein sent several generals into retirement only because they expressed their views and provided advice. "[Hussein] is stirring up trouble with [former] head of Sudan's armored corps Brigadier General Sideeg Fadl [who is] security valve of the [1989] revolution [the coup that brought Al-Bashir to power]" The memo stated that Hussein left the detainees with no option but to attempt a coup.

Al-Bashir has long resisted calls for sacking his defense minister and personal friend over corruption charges and defeats on the battlefield. Hussein came under fire last April for the ease with which the Sudanese army lost Heglig oilfield to South Sudan.

The dissenting NCP member revealed that NISS director-general Mohammed Atta accuses Wad Ibrahim and Lt-Gen Fath Al-Rahman Suliman, the commander-in-chief of the joint border control forces with Chad, of having contacts with foreign and domestic quarters who are hostile to the government, including the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) which is a coalition of armed rebel groups fighting the government in the peripheral regions of South Kordofan, Darfur and Blue Nile.

According to Abdallah, who is also a member of the Mujahdeen/Al-Sae'ohoon group, they are currently conducting efforts to secure the release of the detainees and compensate them, adding that many personalities in the NCP's leadership office "are not happy with what happened to that distinguished elite of officers"

Echoing a similar analysis of the alleged coup, the Islamist opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan Al-Turabi has accused the NCP of "concocting" the coup story to settle rivalries between its members and get rid of "pesky" elements.

Speaking in a press conference held at the PCP headquarters in Khartoum on Sunday, PCP's leading member Abdel Razaq said that his party rejects accusation of involvement in the so-called coup attempt, saying that the NCP has grown accustomed to fabricating crises and pinning them on the PCP.

Abdel Razaq stressed that the PCP's goal is to change the regime by peaceful means and away from armed struggle. "We're even trying to persuade arms-holders to renounce military struggle to topple the regime.

Addressing the same event, PCP's deputy secretary-general in Khartoum State, Al-Nagi Abdella, accused the PCP of concocting the coup attempt to achieve certain results including removal of embarrassment over what he described as the failure of the general conference of the quasi-official Islamic Movement (IM) this month, as well as riddance of "pesky" elements.

The NISS at first said that the "subversive attempt" was led by opposition figures but the main opposition coalition National Consensus Forces (NCF), which consists of the PCP and the National Umma Party (NUP) denied the accusation saying that whatever happened on Thursday was an indication of a growing power struggle within the NCP.

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