Sudan - Ex-Security Forces Clash With Transitional Government Troops

Khartoum, Sudan (file photo)
15 January 2020

Sudan's transitional government has quelled armed protests by former intelligence officers angry about severance pay. It was one of the biggest outbreaks of violence since the country's transition from autocratic rule.

Sudan's capital, Khartoum, erupted in gunfire Tuesday as ex-security agents from the country's intelligence service carried out an armed revolt, clashing with forces from their renamed former employer.

Sudan's General Intelligence Service said the rebellious former members of its predecessor were expressing "their objections" to what they consider to be unfair severance packages as the country's security apparatus reorganizes following the ouster of longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April.

The disgruntled former employees of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) were convinced "through negotiations" to lay down their arms, the General Intelligence Service said.

There were no deaths reported in the clashes. The AFP news agency reported that five people were wounded, citing medics and security officials.

Tuesday's violence was the biggest confrontation so far between the supporters of al-Bashir and those of the transitional government. After a protest movement ousted al-Bashir, a military-civilian government took over in August, promising to hold elections in three years.

'Failure to disarm'

"This happened because those troops rejected the amount of money they got for their retirement," government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh told state television.

Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a powerful paramilitary group supporting the new government whose troops helped end Tuesday's revolt, said the action was unacceptable.

"We will not accept any coup, we will not accept any illegal change. The only change will come from the Sudanese people," he said.

Dagalo added that he blamed the intelligence services for failing to disarm those officers who had been dismissed and to deliver their severance pay on time. After the NISS officers were dismissed by the new transitional government, many of the agents returned to their barracks without being disarmed.

Sudan's transitional government also wants to revive the economy by reducing military spending. Restructuring of the once-feared NISS was a primary demand of the protest movement that removed al-Bashir from power.

The agency had been blamed for violently suppressing dissent against the former strongman.

(Reuters, AFP, AP)

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