Sudanese president re-appoints former security chief
President Omar Al Bashir re-appointed Salah Abdallah (Gosh) as director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) on Sunday.
Salah Abdallah, better known as Salah Gosh, replaced Mohamed Atta El Maula, who had served in the position since 2009.
Gosh was director of the NISS between 2004 and 2009, after which he served as security advisor to the president. In 2011 he was dismissed. He was arrested in 2012, amid rumours of an imminent military coup.
After months in detention, Gosh was charged with undermining the constitutional order and breaching the anti-terrorism law. In July 2013, the charges were dropped and he was released after he was granted amnesty by Al Bashir.
The security chief is considered to be one of the masterminds of the war in Darfur. During his reign, the NISS became more notorious than before. Rumours say he would sometimes torture detainees himself.
The New York Times reported in 2005 that Gosh visited the USA for consultation with the CIA, reportedly as a reward for Sudan’s cooperation in the fight against Al Qaeda following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Political analyst Dr Omar Sharkiyan described the re-appointment of Gosh as an indication that the internal conflicts among the Islamists are still ongoing.
“The regime, having gone bankrupt, now resorts to a policy of recycling people. This is a desperate policy that will not solve the political, security, and economic crises in the country,” he told Radio Dabanga on Sunday.
Dr Haidar Ibrahim, sociologist and founder and director of the Sudanese Studies’ Centre, also pointed to the despair of the Sudanese government. “The reinstatement of Gosh is just another indication that the Sudanese government has gone bankrupt,” he told this station.
“The appointment of Gosh is an attempt to gather the old elements again, from times when the situation was much better. The Khartoum regime is now trying to unite the Islamists again to face the current economic collapse in the country,”
“Gosh's re-appointment does not necessarily mean a change in the pace of repression,” Ibrahim added. “If we witness a decrease in repression, we should not interpret it as increased tolerance. It means only that the violence has reached its utmost level, a situation in which it is not longer useful to carry out arrests and gag the press.”
On the other hand, the sociologist emphasised, “the appointment of Gosh and any other person these days means the exit of others from the circle of power. This will further complicate the current economic crisis – which cannot be handled by changing faces”.
The Sudanese Studies Centre, legally registered as a civil society organisation working to promote dialogue on culture and democracy, was among the many civil society centres closed by the authorities since 2009.
Organisations that have been closed include the Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO, in 2009), the Sudanese Studies Centre (2012), the Nuba Mountains-based Organisation for Human Rights and Development (2012), El Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development, which was Khartoum’s leading pro-democracy think-tank (KACE, 2012), the Cultural Forum for Literary Criticism (2012).
The House of Arts and the Aslan English language teaching centre were forced to close in 2013. A year later the Centre for Civil Society Development, Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre, and the Sudan Human Rights Monitor had to shut their doors.
In 2015, the Ministry of Culture cancelled the re-registration of the Mahmoud Mohamed Taha Centre in Omdurman and the Sudanese Writers Union in Khartoum. The Tracks Training and Human Development Centre was closed as well.
Only the Writers Union was allowed to open again, in end 2016, after a Khartoum court of appeal allowed it to operate again and ordered the security apparatus to return its property.
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