14 July 2013

Sudan's NCP Makes U-Turn On Former Spy Chief

The head of Sudan's parliamentary subcommittee on foreign affairs, security and defense Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin said that the former head of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Salah Gosh has no connection to the group of army officers accused in the alleged coup attempt led by Brigadier-General Mohammed Ibrahim Abdul-Jalil (Wad Ibrahim).

Sudanese authorities announced last November that they have arrested 13 suspects in the first wave of arrests in connection with the coup plot including Gosh and Wad Ibrahim who at one point served on Bashir's security detail.

Wad Ibrahim and his associates were convicted before the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir issued a decree commuting their sentences allowing them to be freed immediately.

Salah Gosh was later released when justice minister decided to drop the charges against him and ordered that he be released.

Al-Amin said in press statements yesterday that Gosh was found innocent of charges filed against him and he has no connection to Wad Ibrahim but he said that Gosh had contacts with other anti-government parties.

His remarks add more mystery to the coup attempt which many observers believed it did not exist and was simply used as a smokescreen by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to get rid of dissenting voices within the party.

Wad Ibrahim in particular is known to have been critical of the NCP and its top leaders and was considered to be the de facto leader of al-Sa'ehoon Islamist group which calls for deep reform in the NCP and the state.

Sudanese officials blasted the coup plotters including Gosh and emphasized repeatedly that they were caught red handed with solid evidence implicating them with some going as far as accusing them of committing treachery.

While Wad Ibrahim and other military officers reportedly admitted planning for a coup, Gosh vehemently denied the charges and prosecutors have failed to produce evidence against him till the very end.

Following his release, Gosh signaled that he has no grudges against the NCP or the Islamist Movement (IM) asserting that he is one of them and will continue to be.

The NCP spokesman Yasir Youssef hailed Gosh's remarks saying the party welcomes him in its ranks adding that no decision was ever made to remove him.

Al-Amin denied that the release of those who were detained in connection with the coup attempt was driven by racial or regional considerations particularly as there are detainees from Darfur who have been imprisoned for a decade on similar charges.

The opposition Popular Congress Party's (PCP) member Yusuf Mohamed Saleh Libis was held on charges of planning to overthrow the government in 2003 and was imprisoned ever since.

Libis, who hails from Darfur, is considered one of the key security elements in the PCP and is better known for carrying out suicide attacks against South Sudan rebels during the civil war years.

Observers say that Khartoum believes that Libis has knowledge of sensitive military secrets and fears he could share it with PCP and Darfur rebels.

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