Sudan arrests ex-spy chief after foiled plot

Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:50pm EST
 
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By Ulf Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan arrested its former spy chief and other senior military and security officers on Thursday after foiling what officials said was a plot to incite chaos and target leaders in this oil-producing African state.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw army tanks and armored vehicles moving down a main street in the centre of Khartoum around midnight, but life in the city was normal during the day with shops in the centre bustling with customers.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has kept up a 23-year hold on power, even as a series of uprisings troubled the country's poor border areas, including the conflict-torn region of Darfur.

But Sudan has been stuck in economic crisis since the south - the source of most of its known oil-reserves - declared independence last year under the terms of a peace deal.

High prices for food have added to widespread public anger over losing the south and have emboldened opposition activists to call for protests. Analysts say the crisis has also exacerbated divisions in the government and squeezed the patronage system they say Bashir has relied on.

Unrest over price rises and food and fuel shortages has preceded coups in Sudan in the past.

Salah Gosh, former head of Sudan's powerful intelligence and security agency, was arrested with 12 others on suspicion of "inciting chaos", "targeting" some leaders and spreading rumors about Bashir's health, the information minister told reporters.

Bashir, 68, has undergone throat surgery twice since the summer. Officials insist he is in good health.   Continued...

 
Salah Gosh, the then-special security adviser to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, speaks during a news conference in Khartoum in this March 13, 2011 file photo. Sudanese authorities arrested Gosh, the former head of the security and intelligence agency, and 12 others including army and security officials, the information minister said on November 22, 2012. The officials were accused of "inciting chaos," "targeting" some leaders and spreading rumours about Bashir's health, Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Files