KHARTOUM – Sudan’s military said on Wednesday that it had thwarted a coup attempt and arrested an unspecified number of senior officers in connection with a plot to restore the party of ousted President Omar al-Bashir to power.
The ruling military council took over after the military ousted al-Bashir on April 11 following weeks of street protests.
It is working with an alliance of protest and opposition groups to finalize a power-sharing deal for a three-year transition towards elections, a process that has repeatedly stalled. They are due to resume talks on Saturday, state news agency SUNA said.
The military said in a statement: “The failed attempt aims to abort your glorious revolution and to return the former National Congress regime to power, and to disrupt the path before the expected political solution that aims to establish a civilian state.”
It said the coup attempt involved Gen.Hashim Abdel Mottalib Ahmed, head of the joint chiefs of staff; a number of high-ranking officers from the armed forces and the National Intelligence and Security Service; and leaders of the National Congress Party and the Islamic Movement party al-Bashir also headed.
Among those detained was Gen. Bakri Hassan Saleh, who served as first vice president and prime minister until months before al-Bashir was ousted, sources close to the military council said. He was a leading figure in the 1989 coup that brought al-Bashir to power and was one of his closest confidants throughout his 30-year rule.
Also detained was Ali Karty, an influential former foreign minister widely believed to currently head the Islamic Movement, sources with knowledge of the matter said. He became Sudan’s central Islamist figure after al-Bashir was forced out.
Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan, a former finance minister who was secretary general of the Islamic Movement until al-Bashir was deposed, was also detained, the sources said.
“They have been detained and investigations with them are occurring so that they can be tried,” the military said.
It was not clear when the attempt coup happened, but the military’s statement said it had been monitoring a failed coup attempt in the “past weeks” and was now uncovering its details.
Sudan’s military council said earlier this month that it had thwarted a coup attempt. It said it involved a number of retired officers as well as officers still in service.
It was not immediately clear if these latest comments were about the same incident.
Hamid Eltgani Ali, a Sudanese professor at the American University in Cairo, cast doubt on the coup attempt, saying the ruling military council was trying to consolidate power.
“These are fabricated attempts by the (Transitional Military Council) to strengthen their grip on power,” he said.
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