Khartoum — Combatants of the General Intelligence Service (GIS) Operations Authority fired heavy gunfire in the air in Khartoum and El Obeid today, in protest against new administrative and financial measures.
Witnesses reported fighters of the GIS Operations Authority shooting in the air from the apparatus' office in the district of Kafouri in Khartoum North in the morning.
They said a brigade officer attempted to stop the shooting but they refused to obey the instructions, and continued to indiscriminately shoot in the air.
Another large group of members of army troops and paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces arrived at the headquarters of the GIS in Khartoum North, witnesses said. Army vehicles were seen on the Africa Road near the Airport.
In El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, security fighters also protested the new measures this morning, though on a smaller scale.
Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabashi, member of Sudan's Sovereign Council said that the protests can be classified as a military rebellion.
"Any action like this is classified as a military mutiny. Shooting in the city centre is a rebellion and it will be dealt with in ways that guarantee the containment of this rebellion, and Khartoum will return quiet in the coming hours, God willing," Kabashi told Al Jazeera media channel.
"It constitutes a military and security deficiency that we consider an intimidation of citizens and a threat of the political process," he added. The way the security staff is protesting and putting forward their financial demands "is illogical and not acceptable".
The GIS acknowledged that employees of the agency's operations committee protested the new measures, and confirmed that there are procedures for addressing the situation.
A GIS spokesman explained in a statement that a group of fighters of its Operations Authority protested their "weak financial entitlements this morning". They objected to the proposed financial rewards and after-service benefits, and began shooting.
Before its dissolution in August last year, the Transitional Military Council issued a decision to dissolve the GIS Operations Authority, and to give its more than 10,000 security fighters the choice to join the army or the Rapid Support Forces government militia.
Brig Gen Amer El Hasan, spokesman for the Sudan Armed Forces said that the army rejects the behaviour of the GIS fighters.
"What happened is a mess that requires an immediate resolution," he said.
In a statement, the Sudanese Professionals Association called on all people in the districts that witnessed violent protests in Khartoum today, to stay inside, tightly close the doors and windows, until the situation stabilises.
The statement said that the residents of Kafouri in Khartoum North, and Riyadh and a number of districts near the airport were terrified by the sound of live ammunition coming from the various GIS buildings in the areas.
The Association appealed to members of the resistance committees and other revolutionary forces in the districts not to interfere but monitor the situation until it calms down.
The statement pointed out that the reports indicate a rebellion of forces affiliated with the Operations Authority amid a suspicious blackout from the official state media.
In short statements this afternoon, Sudan's Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture and Information reacted to the rebellion of the combatants of the General Intelligence Service (GIS) Operations Authority.
The shooting is still continuing, witnesses reported in the late afternoon.
PM Hamdok commented in a Tweet that "We assure our citizens that the events today are under control, and will not stop us to continue our track". He added that "We confirm our trust in the army and regular forces, and in their power to contain the situation."
Feisal Mohamed Saleh, Information Minister and spokesman for the government, stated that fighters of a number of GIS units rejected their financial entitlements, saying they are lower than they deserve.
Saleh pointed to the reform of the infamous National Intelligence and Security Apparatus (NISS) in August. Its competences were adjusted and its names was changed to the General Intelligence Service. The new intelligence service is no longer authorised to carry out search operations and to detain people.
Shooting happened in Kafouri in Khartoum North, Soba and the area of the GIS headquarters east of the airport in Khartoum. Limited shots were heard in El Obeid. The authorities continue their attempts to convince the fighters to stop their violent protest, the statement reads.