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El Sheikh: Sudan’s security apparatus behind attacks on protesters

January 17 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Former head of the Sudanese Congress Party and FFC leader Ibrahim El Sheikh (SUNA)
Former head of the Sudanese Congress Party and FFC leader Ibrahim El Sheikh (SUNA)

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have described the rebellion of the security forces’ Operations Authority earlier this week as a coup plot against the revolution. According to FFC’s spokesman Ibrahim El Sheikh, the Operations Authority is responsible for the violence against protesters during the uprising.

The violent incidents on Tuesday confirm the correctness of the decision to dismiss a number of security officers, adjust the competences of the security apparatus, change its mission, and review the Security Law, Ibrahim El Sheikh, leading member of the FFC, said in a press conference in Khartoum yesterday.

On Tuesday, combatants of the former security apparatus’ Operations Authority fired in the air with machine guns and blocked a number of roads in Khartoum and a number of other places in the country, allegedly in protests against low after-service payments. Army forces contained the situation.

The Operations Authority was established in the past years by Salah Gosh, former director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). The forces were to become a substitute for the Sudanese army. They were superior to the Sudan Armed Forces in armament. In late July, the then ruling Transitional Military Council decided to reform the NISS, adjust its competences, and change its name to the General Intelligence Service (GIS).

The former head of the Sudanese Congress Party and FFC leader Ibrahim El Sheikh told reporters at the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) that the FFC hold the fighters of the Operations Authority responsible for the violent breaking up of sit-ins in the country and suppression of other protests in the country since December 2018.

He called for the removal of military and security bases from urban areas, to avoid civilian casualties, as happened in Soba on Tuesday, where two young people were fatally hit by a shell.

“The restructuring of the security apparatus on new foundations should be accelerated. Its teeth must be removed, to become an apparatus that will collect information only” - Ibrahim El Sheikh

The FFC holds the GIS director full responsibility for the Tuesday events, and considers the Operations Authority's rebellion “an attempt to exploit and test the vulnerable security situation in the country in order to seize power.

“The restructuring of the security apparatus on new foundations should be accelerated. Its teeth must be removed, to become an apparatus that will collect information only, as stipulated in the Constitutional Charter,” signed by the military junta and the FFC in August.

El Sheikh described the National Police Law as “defective”. He accused “certain members of the police” of being loyal to the former Al Bashir regime and “working in coordination with elements of the old regime abroad”.

He stressed that the police force in Sudan needs a similar restructuring “before the situation worsens indefinitely. Internal security should be the task of the police only.”

‘Critical decisions’

FFC leaders met with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok on Tuesday. They discussed a memorandum previously submitted by the group on the shortcomings of the security system.

They agreed on a meeting of members of the Sovereign Council, the Council of Ministers, and the FFC “to discuss the situation and make critical decisions on this matter”.

FFC spokesman Wajdi Saleh pointed out that the events are linked to measures taken by the transitional government to cleanse the country of ‘deep state’ elements.

He demanded the acceleration of the reorganisation of the old governance structures, appointment of civilian governors instead of acting military governors and the establishment of the Legislative Council.

“We want to know why the combatants of the former security apparatus’ Operations Authority were still bearing arms despite their demobilisation in December 2019,” Saleh said.

He pointed to late July last year, when the infamous NISS was transformed into the General Intelligence Service, and the competences of the security apparatus were adjusted. The right to detain and search people was withdrawn from the GIS. The Operations Authority would be dissolved and its combatants were given the choice to join the army or the Rapid Support Forces militia.

“We want to know why the combatants of the former security apparatus’ Operations Authority were still bearing arms despite their demobilisation in December 2019” - FFC spokesman Wajdi Saleh

Mohamed El Faki, spokesman for the Sovereign Council told reporters in Khartoum on Thursday that the council accepted the resignation of GIS Director Lt Gen Abubakir Dambalab. He was replaced by Gen Jamal Abdelmajeed, currently head of the Sudan Armed Forces Intelligence Authority.

He said that the Sovereign Council members in their meeting yesterday proposed not to renew the contracts of judges of the Constitutional Court whose seven-year term ended recently. The court needs a renewal of blood, they stressed.

On Wednesday, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Chairman of the Sovereign Council, announced the formation of a joint military-legal team that will investigate the violent incidents of the day before.


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