Sudan reopens airspace after revolt quelled

Wednesday January 15 2020

Members of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are seen near the area where gunmen opened fire outside buildings used by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum on January 14, 2020. PHOTO | REUTERS

Members of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are seen near the area where gunmen opened fire outside buildings used by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum on January 14, 2020. PHOTO | REUTERS 

REUTERS
By REUTERS
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Sudan has reopened its airspace, the head of the sovereign council said on Wednesday, while the army said two soldiers were killed and four injured in quelling a revolt by former security agents linked to toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir.

The violence was the biggest confrontation yet between the old guard and supporters of the new administration, which helped topple Bashir in April after 30 years in power.

In a speech early on Wednesday, the sovereign council head, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, vowed never to allow any coup to take place and added that the army was in control of all intelligence buildings.

“All headquarters are under the army’s control, and the airspace is now open,” al-Burhan said.

The former security agents fought soldiers in the capital, Khartoum, for hours until government forces quelled the revolt late on Tuesday, residents and a military source said.

“What happened on Tuesday is a revolt,” Mohamed Othman al-Hussein, the army chief of staff, said on Wednesday.

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The two officers killed and four injured in putting down the revolt showed the military had been able to end it with minimal casualties, he added in a speech.

In a protest over severance packages, the former employees of the National Intelligence and Security Service also shut two small oilfields in Darfur, a government source told Reuters. The fields had an output of around 5,000 barrels a day.

Restructuring the once feared security apparatus blamed for suppressing dissent under Bashir was among the key demands of the uprising that had forced his removal.

However, once dismissed by the new transitional government, many of the security agents returned to their barracks without being disarmed, after leaving the ministries and streets they once controlled.

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