UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)
Heavy shooting erupted on Tuesday in Khartoum after elements of the Sudanese General Intelligence Agency “rebelled” against a plan to restructure it, resulting in the closure of Khartoum airport.
A boy was wounded when he fired at two bases of the General Intelligence Agency, formerly known as the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service, and was controversial during the era of former President Omar al-Bashir.
The National Intelligence and Security Service played an essential role in suppressing the demonstrations that started in December 2018 and led to the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir’s army under street pressure in April after 30 years of rule.
Witnesses told an AFP correspondent that the shooting erupted at the Riyadh base near the Khartoum airport, and a naval base north of the capital.
All roads leading to the two bases were closed, causing traffic jams.
An AFP journalist saw several vehicles carrying soldiers and members of the Rapid Support Forces heading to the two bases.
“Some areas of the capital witnessed a revolt of the operations forces of the General Intelligence Agency, as units of them took to the streets, erected some barricades and fired bullets into the air,” government spokesman Faisal Muhammad Salih said.
He added that “some of the units rejected the financial compensation decided by the official authorities in exchange for the demobilization and considered it less than they should receive.”
He said, “Meanwhile, we ask the citizens to stay away from these specific sites and leave it to the regular forces to secure the situation.”
Doctors close to the protest movement that toppled Bashir said that a fifteen-year-old boy was wounded by gunfire.
– Accusing the former head of the agency –
A senior team, Muhammad Hamdan Diqlu, who heads the Rapid Support Forces, accused the former head of the General Intelligence Service of planning a “rebellion.”
He said that what happened today is a plan developed by Salah Gosh and a number of officers.
Gosh, a prominent figure in the Bashir regime, stepped down from his post days after Bashir was ousted. He does not know his whereabouts.
The forces of freedom and change in Sudan called on the population to calm down and not give an opportunity to those who wish to “drag the country into bloodshed.”
The General Intelligence Service said in a statement that it was “working to assess the situation.”
He added that “within the framework of structuring the apparatus and the resulting merging and demobilization according to the options that were presented to employees of the Operations Authority, a group of them objected to the value of the financial reward and after-service benefits.”
He added that negotiations are underway to resolve the issue, given that the employees have financial demands.
A security source told Agence France Presse that the shooting broke out first in the city of Al-Ubayyid, and then in the bases of the General Intelligence Service in Khartoum.
The authorities closed Khartoum International Airport.
“The Khartoum airport has been closed to air navigation for five hours for security reasons until 8 pm local time (18:00 GMT),” Abd al-Hafiz Abdul Rahim, a spokesman for the Sudanese civil aviation, told AFP.
Prime Minister Abdullah Hamduk emphasized that the situation is under control.
“We assure our citizens that the events that took place today are under control and they will not stop our march and will not cause us to retreat from the goals of the revolution. The current situation proves the need to affirm the current partnership and push it forward to achieve higher goals,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We renew our confidence in the armed and regular forces and their ability to control the situation,” he added.
Since the military and leaders of the protests in Sudan reached an agreement in August, the country has been transformed into a transitional government.
In particular, the new authorities pledged to reform the security services.
177 people were killed during the crackdown on demonstrations, according to Amnesty International. A committee of doctors close to the demonstrators says the number of victims has reached 250.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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