Khartoum investigates assassination attempt on prime minister

Al-Bashir loyalists suspected in the attack.
Sunday 15/03/2020
Sudanese policemen stand around a vehicle that was part of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s motorcade in Khartoum,  March 9. (DPA)
Security minefield. Sudanese policemen stand around a vehicle that was part of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s motorcade in Khartoum, March 9. (DPA)

LONDON - Sudan’s Sovereignty Council said it would step up efforts to restructure security services and remove loyalists of the previous regime of President Omar al-Bashir from key positions.

A branch of Sudan’s security services closely linked to al-Bashir is to be moved under control of the civilian government and a committee assigned to dismantle the former regime will be given additional powers, Sovereign Council spokesman Mohamed al-Faki said.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s convoy was attacked March 9 but Hamdok was not injured. Sudanese authorities have not said who was behind the bombing.

The new measures — announced the day after the attack — however, suggest possible links with al-Bashir regime supporters. To disempower al-Bashir’s supporters, the “dismantling” committee moved to disband the former ruling party and dismiss senior officials at banks and embassies.

Also, some officers at the National Intelligence and Security Service were dismissed and the name of the agency changed to the General Intelligence Service (GIS). Faki said the part of the GIS that operates inside Sudan would report to the Interior Ministry.

In January, armed security agents linked to al-Bashir fought soldiers in Khartoum for several hours after a dispute about severance packages.

Sudan’s Security and Defence Council requested foreign assistance a few hours after the attack on Hamdok, for which there has been no claim of responsibility, although Sudan said there had been several arrests, including foreigners.

The United States was sending a team to bring relevant “expertise and techniques for this kind of case,” a Sudanese official said.

After al-Bashir’s ouster in April 2019, Hamdok was placed in control of the transitional government last August. He heads a council that includes civilian and military figures tasked with overseeing Sudan’s transition to civilian rule over three years, with the eventual goal of free elections.

(With news agencies) 

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