22 December 2012

Sudan's Umma Party Had Prior Knowledge of Coup Attempt, Government Says

Khartoum — The Sudanese presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie accused the National Umma Party (NUP) led by former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi of being complicit in the alleged coup attempt thwarted last month.

"We said this before and he [Al-Mahdi] knows this.....some of the participants [in the coup] contacted him," Nafie said in an interview on Sudan TV Saturday.

"We don't need to say that there is more evidence that the Umma Party personally even knew the zero hour [of the coup attempt] and they consulted on what do with regard to it," he added.

Nafie, who is also the deputy chairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), refused to provide further details.

"I am confident that the Umma party knew the zero hour on Thursday and based on it they had an opinion on what to do" he repeated.

"I hope the people of the Umma party do not force us to say more on this but [more info] could surface in the future when results [of investigations] appear," Nafie said.

This is the first time Nafie explicitly accuses an opposition party of involvement in the coup attempt which involved disgruntled regime loyalists. In a previous interview Nafie made the suggestion of NUP involvement without going as far as pointing fingers in the manner he did today.

This month a local newspaper quoting security sources said that Al-Mahdi took a trip to Britain last month to conceal his participation in the coup. It also pointed to alleged NUP contacts with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) which is a coalition of armed rebel groups including the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) and three Darfur rebel groups that aim to topple the Bashir-led government.

The NUP along with Al-Ansar, a religious sect associated with the NUP, fiercely denounced the allegations and warned against any attempt to implicate its leader in the coup attempt.

The plot foiled on November 22nd saw the arrest of more than a dozen people including former intelligence chief and ex-presidential adviser Salah Gosh, Brigadier General Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Galil who is better known as 'Wad Ibrahim' and Major General Adil Al-Tayeb from the NISS.

Further arrests were carried out quietly in subsequent days and weeks of low and mid-level army officers and Islamists figures.

Sudanese officials said that the health of Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and speculations that he is terminally ill provided an impetus to conspirators to topple the regime.

The 68-years old Sudanese leader underwent two surgeries in his throat since August in Qatar and Saudi Arabia respectively. Officials in the presidency confirmed the first surgery only two months later following growing talk that Bashir was ill.

Bashir's brother Abdullahi was the first to disclose that the president had a tumor in his vocal cords but said it was benign. The revelation embarrassed other Sudanese officials who gave less serious accounts of Bashir's ailment.

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