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Sudan arrests top general, officers over foiled coup

  • Published at 07:39 pm July 25th, 2019
Sudanese protesters shout slogans and wave flags during a rally honouring fallen protesters at the Green Square in Khartoum, Sudan July 18, 2019 Reuters

On July 11 the military announced it had foiled a coup attempt without specifying when it took place

Sudan's military said Wednesday it had arrested a top general and several others over a foiled coup attempt announced earlier this month.

It said the plot aimed to re-install the party of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted by the army in April after months of protests against his iron-fisted rule.

"At the top of the participants is General Hashim Abdel Mottalib, the head of joint chiefs of staff, and a number of officers from the National Intelligence and Security Service," the military said in a statement.

"Leaders from Islamic Movement and the National Congress Party" of Bashir were also arrested, the military said in a statement.

On July 11 the military announced it had foiled a coup attempt without specifying when it took place.

At that time it said 12 officers, including five who were retired, had been arrested and that security forces were looking for the mastermind.

On Wednesday, the military said those detained over the attempted coup were being questioned and would face trial.

They stand accused of trying to "help return the former National Congress Party's regime to power," according to the military statement.

General Mohamed Othman al-Hussein, the new head of joint chiefs of staff, also announced the details of the arrests on state television.

 Video statement

Later on Wednesday, state television broadcast a prepared video statement allegedly recorded by Abdel Mottalib and meant to be broadcast after the coup was successfully carried out.

"We announce that the armed forces have seized power and appointed a prime minister to lead the executive power in the country for a transitional period that will not last more than two years," says Abdel Mottalib, wearing a military uniform and reading from the statement.

Sudanese media reported that among those arrested was General Bakri Hassan Saleh, a former first vice president and prime minister and a prominent figure in the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power. 

Also arrested was Ali Karty, a former foreign minister and Zubair Ahmed Hassan, a former finance minister, according to the reports.

Sudan's Islamic Movement released a statement denying any connection to the plot.

Sudan's ruling military council, which took over after Bashir's overthrow, said last month it had thwarted "more than one coup attempt," with several officers taken into custody.

The latest alleged coup attempt came as the ruling generals were negotiating a power sharing deal with protest leaders to form a joint civilian-military governing body.

The accord was signed on July 17 but the two sides have yet to thrash out some key issues, including justice for demonstrators killed during months of protests.

Some 246 people have been killed in protest-related violence since demonstrations first erupted in December against Bashir's regime, according to doctors linked to the protest movement.

Of those killed, 127 died on June 3 when armed men in military fatigues violently dispersed a weeks-long protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.

The ruling generals have denied they ordered the dispersal, which triggered international outrage. 

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